By Brian Etheridge, MD, FAAP
New Mexico’s Human Services Department (HSD) wants to make changes to its Medicaid program that would not only hurt our state’s children and families, but would also place financial burdens on its healthcare workforce. As both a pediatrician and the president of the New Mexico Pediatric Society, I must voice my concerns. The draft plan, which is open for comments until November 6 and must be approved by the federal government, has some strong points, including pilot projects for Medicaid-funded home visitation, improved coverage for young adults who have aged out of foster care, and increased access to long-acting reversible contraceptives. These proposals not only make sense but have sound data supporting their efficacy.
There are, however, several elements in the plan that are not in the best interest of New Mexico’s children, would limit access to care, damage an already fragile health system, may actually cost more than they are supposed to save, and should be withdrawn prior to submission.
To the Editor:
Here are some numbers that give more information on President Shepard's contract.
These numbers do not include use of the President's house or any other non-cash benefit.
President Shepard’s old contract:
Base salary $270,000 plus guaranteed bonus of $25,000: Total $295,000
80% of premium for health insurance……$5,000
80% of employee’s retirement contribution…..$29,500
Education Retirement Board Contribution……$8,100
Total cash benefits $53,400, total cash income $348,400.
President Shepard’s new contract
His base salary remains the same at $270,000.
His bonus now becomes a performance bonus increased from $25,000 to at least $50,000; the $50,000 can be increased to an unstated amount for exceeding expectations, an increase of at least $25,000.
A new annuity of $1,200 per month or $14,400 a year.
An increase to 100% of state retirement from 80%; worth about $10,000.
An increase to 100% for health insurance from 80% worth about $2,000.
His total increase is about $50,000 a year.
President Shepard's total cash income is now about $400,000 a year.
Other salary increases at Western for this year:
VP Academic Affairs From $152,085 to $196,000 increase of 29%
VP Student Affairs $113,760 to $130,000 increase of 14%
VP External Affairs $111,529 to $125,000 increase of 12%
Head of Financial Aid $50,779 to $70,000 increase of 38%
Head of Admissions $45,000 to $47,477 increase of 6%
Head Student Records $58,918 to $70,000 increase of 19%
Faculty and staff increase $0.
Silver City, NM
Today conservation organizations joined by 2,500 people urged international mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. (FMI) to support environmentally friendly diversion infrastructure on the Gila River in the Cliff-Gila Valley in New Mexico.
Gila Basin Irrigation Commission (GBIC) irrigators recently received a report from its contractor, Telesto, outlining three options for upgrading diversion structures, two of which will cause catastrophic impacts to the riparian ecology of the Gila River. One option, a U-shaped cross-vane rock weir, is the environmentally friendly option, as well as the most cost-effective alternative.
The Solution Is Within Reach
By Senator Pete Campos
It is easy to become discouraged these days in New Mexico as crime is out of control, our economy is in shambles and our public education system is among the worst in the country. As difficult as it is to acknowledge these hard truths, doing so also points the way to an achievable solution.
The link between our investment in our children's education and safer, more prosperous communities is undeniable. Educated children grow up to be productive, engaged, law-abiding members of their communities, which leads to safer communities with plenty of jobs, which in turn will encourage young New Mexicans to remain in New Mexico rather than flee to surrounding states.
According to Alex Brown, Town Manager, the Town of Silver City is increasing its donation to the University Golf Course (Silver City Course) from $75,000 last year to $100,000 this year. Grant County will keep its donation the same as last year at $25,000.
According to the WNMU budget the golf course is budged to take in $500,616 from operations of the golf course, grill and bar. Expenses are budgeted at $814,168. That’s an operating loss of $313,552. The loss is going to be covered by the $100,000 donation from the Town, $25,000 donation from the County and $66,890 transferred from WNMU student’s fees. There is still over a $120,000 in loss to be covered, it may be covered by reimbursement from the Town for repairs to the course done by the University.
At the next Regent’s meeting in Albuquerque on October 2, 2017, Western New Mexico University is planning to purchase a 9.68-acre parcel of property from the St. Francis Newman Center Parish. The property has been vacant and was planned by St. Francis for a church. The property is located west of the Guadalupe Montessori School. Access to the property is from Alabama Street, which comes directly into the north side of the WNMU campus. The cost is $121,000.
WNMU’s plan is to develop the property into one or two directions. The first is to create a research park. This would allow WNMU to forge links between New Mexico's educational institutions, and business, industrial communities, and government. This would also help promote the economic development of Silver City. The second direction is to develop the property into student or faculty housing. It’s possible that it may develop into a mix of the two planned uses.
Silver City NM
Our view - Editorial by The Santa Fe New Mexican. September 29, 2017
Keep investments under advisement
Allegations of pay-to-play involving New Mexico’s investment dollars are back — this time, instead of a Democratic governor and his minions standing accused, it’s Republican Gov. Susana Martinez on the hot seat.
Scandal is bipartisan, it seems.
Thank you, Alfred Milligan. Your analysis of all things WNMU over the years has been very educational, very disturbing. Now the golf course! Oh, my.
I've been praising City Manager Alex Brown for foisting the golf course onto WNMU, putting the deficits into the state budget and out of SC's. Ha! As a wise man once said, "It ain't a foist if you gotta pay 'em to take it."
Thanks again and email me if you'd like to meet me for a cup of coffee. I buy.
The Grant County Beat continues to bring you new columnists. New this past week are the Christian Corner, for those who are already Christians or are exploring the beliefs.
The second is a business-centered column—Your Business Connection by the New Mexico Business Coalition. The group works to make policy in the state of New Mexico better for all businesses, large and small.
The Beat has a new column for you gardeners out there. The Grant County Extension Service will bring you monthly columns on gardening issues. The first one posted is on Winterizing your houseplants and patio plants.
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