Governor's publicists calling Skandera education secretary
Hanna Skandera has not been confirmed by the state Senate as secretary of public education.
After more than two years on the job, Skandera, 39, has not even received a confirmation hearing from the Senate Rules Committee.
But publicists working in Gov. Susana Martinez's administration have been eliminating the weaker title "secretary-designate" when mentioning Skandera.
In a press release last week about Advanced Placement courses, the education department publicist wrote this:
“These classes not only help students pay for college, but better prepare them for the challenge of higher education,” said NMPED Secretary Hanna Skandera.
The governor's own spokesman also has called Skandera the education secretary in press handouts.
Even without a hearing -- much less confirmation from the Senate -- Skandera has been elevated by publicists to full-fledged secretary of education.
Others in government are not playing along with this semantic change.
At a legislative hearing Saturday, Sen. John Sapien, D-Corrales, was careful to call Skandera the secretary-designate, except when he slipped a couple of times and demoted her to deputy secretary.
Never did Sapien bestow the title of secretary on Skandera, cognizant that she has not made it through the Senate gauntlet. She has not been invited to navigate the course.
We await the day when the Rules Committee and the Senate finally settle the question of Skandera's title by confirming or rejecting her.
Meanwhile, we will continue to call her secretary-designate. It is a clumsy title, but more accurate than the one bestowed on her by publicists who receive their paycheck courtesy of the taxpayers.
The Rules Committee ignored Skandera in 2011 and last year, instead providing hearings to cabinet nominees who were selected long after she was. Perhaps the committee chairwoman, Democratic Sen. Linda Lopez of Albuquerque, will squeeze in a hearing for Skandera before this year's legislative session ends March 16.
Or perhaps we will continue to have someone making $125,000 a year and presenting herself as the secretary of education as she waits another year for a confirmation hearing.