Audit deems New Mexico staff payments unconstitutional

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A state auditor in New Mexico has warned the Legislature that a plan to pay $300 to legislative staffers who worked in the Capitol this year is unconstitutional.

The Albuquerque Journal reported that State Auditor Brian Colón said his office told the Legislature that the state Constitution prohibits giving extra compensation to a public servant after services are rendered.

The warning was in response to legislation passed in this year’s 60-day session that calls for a one-time $300 “compensation adjustment” for employees working in the Capitol during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bill is set to take effect later this month, and up to $165,000 would be paid out after that.