Keith Gardner’s ongoing scandal is a reminder why it’s so disingenuous and out-right infuriating that Republicans continually rail against public-sector employment. They are hypocrites, crying over having to use taxpayer money for the salaries and benefits of cops and teachers and fire fighters at the same time as they happily accept that tax money themselves. 

Gardner is chief of staff to Gov. Susana Martinez, who said in her state-of-the-state address this year “Government doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t. Small businesses do.” Martinez works a government job right now, and before she was governor she had a different government job: district attorney. I have asked many, many Republican lawmakers what the difference is, and none can give me a decent answer. (They oppose “bureaucracy,” but can’t ever be specific.)

Gardner has a government job, too. And according to reporting by KOB Channel 4, the full audio of that controversial recording has him offering his “friend” a government job. 

From KOB: “In the recording, Gardner appears to offer to help his friend, who works for the fire department, get a job – a state job, even as manager of the state fair.

“Gardner: ‘Let me get with Ryan and get serious… about something… might be something. Maybe looking for a state fair manager. I’m about to fire that (expletive). God, they screwed that up.” 

They sure did, and it’s funny he says so, but that’s a tale you can read all about elsewhere on ISPAC’s site. 

What’s fascinating about this instance is the chief of staff’s willingness to use government to get this guy a different job. A pattern has emerged with Martinez’s chief of staff. Gardner’s boss might think government doesn’t create jobs, but he sure is fine with it – this latest news bite comes after last year’s stories about how he got his wife a $67,000 government job. 

From the Albuquerque Journal: “Stephanie Gardner, who is married to the governor’s chief of staff, was the only applicant for a state Public Education Department test coordinator job who met a key job requirement adopted earlier this year. The new job description for the position of state coordinator of the National Assessment of Educational Progress called for classroom teaching experience in a core subject within the past year.” 

That “within the past year” was important. It was an added stipulation that excluded other candidates. 

Again, from the Journal: “(Q)ualified educators who have worked their way up from classroom to principal or administrator are out from the get-go. Unlike Gardner, the four who weren’t hired have years in testing and data analysis for the PED.” 

Yeah, but they didn’t have a man at the top of state government who is happy to hand out jobs to his wife and, apparently, friend. We need to keep this in mind, especially in an election year, when Republicans whine about state jobs: They are hypocrites who only hate the government jobs that go to strangers.

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