Hanna Skandera, one of most controversial figures in state government, has given herself a new title.
Even without the New Mexico Senate's vote of approval, Skandera is calling herself secretary of public education.
It would seem a not-so-subtle dig at a Democrat in the Senate who waited two years to schedule Skandera's confirmation hearing, then never held a vote on it.
Now, publicists in Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration and Skandera herself have stopped referring to her as "secretary-designate" of education. The designate title is for cabinet members still awaiting a confirmation vote by the Senate.
Skandera, 39, has been running the state Public Education Department for almost 2 1/2 years. Rules Committee Chairwoman Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Albuquerque, finally called Skandera for a confirmation hearing this year.
Lopez accepted 10 hours of public testimony and committee debate about Skandera, but then recessed the confirmation hearing without any vote on Skandera's nomination.
Lopez said she wanted more documents related to Skandera's performance and management of the Public Education Department. Her decision meant that the full 42-member Senate could not vote on whether Skandera should stay on the job or be removed from office. [emphasis mine]Cheeky, huh? And I'm not the only one who thinks so. Now here's what's funny about this...
One of Skandera's most prominent fellow "Chiefs For Change" is NJ Education Commissioner Chris Cerf. Since Newark remains under state control after nearly two decades, Cerf is the de facto tsar* of the city's schools. And the Commissioner was not happy when the elected schools advisory board members decided to change their titles:
The board also passed resolutions Tuesday to change its official name from Newark Public Schools Advisory Board to Newark Board of Education and to prevent students from facing disciplinary action for protesting conditions in their schools.
However, the board has no authority to change its name, Morgan said. State education officials will continue to refer to the board as the Newark Public Schools Advisory School Board, she said. [emphasis mine]So I guess the rules are this:
- If Jeb! Bush likes you, you can call yourself what you want, regardless of what elected officials say.
- But if one of Jeb!'s proteges doesn't like you, you can't call yourself what you want, even if elected officials say otherwise.
Because Jeb!, I guess, knows better than people who were actually elected to office. Everyone OK with that?
ADDING: I lived in Florida when Bush ran for his second term as governor. His campaign slogan was: "Jeb!" Ever since then, I always think of Jeb with the added "!"
* Latin-Russian metaphor!