SANTA FE (KRQE) — A former prison official who claims the governor's office influenced his bosses to fire him has won a judge's order compelling staffers close to Gov. Susana Martinez to testify in the case.
Larry Flynn, a former state Probation and Parole supervisor in the Department of Corrections, was fired last December on a slew of alleged violations
First he was suspended in May 2011 during an investigation into whether he padded his time cards. Then he was investigated
for firing his personal gun more than a dozen times on state prison property in Santa Fe while, he said, killing a rattlesnake.
Flynn was living on prison grounds with his girlfriend Lupe Martinez, who was the governor's corrections secretary at the time.
"Secretary Gregg Marcantel made the decision to terminate Larry Flynn after his independent and thorough review of the evidence," Corrections Department spokeswoman Cristina Rodda said. "Further, no one at the governor's office told or forced Secretary Marcantel to terminate Flynn."
But Sam Bregman, Flynn's attorney, disagreed and claims another factor played into why Flynn was fired despite all the accusations of wrongdoing by his client.
"We don't believe there was just cause," said Bregman. "There was discussion between the Corrections Department and the governor's office specifically on what type of penalty to dish out to Mr. Larry Flynn."
Bregman said he has the e-mails and messages regarding "whether or not to issue (Flynn) a letter of reprimand, whether or not to fire him."
It is against the law for the governor's office to influence a cabinet secretary in hiring and firing decisions of permanent state employees even though the secretary is an extension of the governor's office.
Bregman claims the administration dodged questions about whether the governor's staff pushed for Flynn's firing.
A judge has ruled the governor cannot cite executive privilege and that her staff, including her Chief of Staff Keith Gardner, will have to answer questions related to how and why Flynn was fired.
A spokesman for Martinez said the governor was never opposed to her staff testifying about Flynn's firing.
"We're very pleased with the judge's ruling," said spokesman Scott Darnell. "It appropriately limits the discussion and testimony to the disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Flynn, and it allows for Keith to testify remotely based upon his availability, both of which are outcomes that we support."
Darnell said Gardner will be traveling next week when the hearings are set to take place.
"We were never opposed to Keith testifying," Darnell continued. "Our motion asked the judge to determine which administration officials should testify in this case and requested that the questioning be limited to Mr. Flynn's misconduct and the disciplinary proceedings."
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.