ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A school district official in Mora accused of using sheriff's deputies to deliver threatening letters to school employees and misusing district funds in part to buy jackets for legislators lost his school business official license and has been ordered to repay the state $16,000.
The Albuquerque Journal reports that Roger A. Gonzales, chief operations officer for the Mora Independent School District, was disciplined in a recent order from Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera.
He is also accused of carrying out administrative duties without the appropriate administrator's license.
Gonzales has until May 3 to appeal the order in state district court, which he said he intends to do.
"I neither concur with the decision, nor some of the facts. You'll hear my full version in district court." he said, declining to comment on the specifics of the order or the discipline he received.
A recommended decision from the Public Education Department says $16,000 was spent for things such as lobbying activities, gifts and some phone bills that were contrary to the district's approved budget and that Gonzales was responsible for them, including a jacket that cost $2,412.
The order states that after state Democratic Rep. Thomas Garcia, of Ocate, took over as the district's superintendent in July 2010 and while Garcia was absent from the district as a legislator in Santa Fe, Gonzales acted as though he were in charge of the district and an administrator, even though he did not hold an administrator's license.
The order also found that Gonzales either requested or caused deputies to deliver threatening letters to three teachers in the Mora District using his stationery.
Gonzales still worked for the school district and didn't need the business license to hold his current position, Garcia said.
He said Gonzales was disciplined by the district between December 2009 and December 2010 based on the allegations in the case, declining to specify how Gonzales was disciplined.
Garcia said Gonzales is not currently responsible for any funds in the district, but he said that was not due to any of the allegations. "His position in the district would not require him to be in charge of any funds," Garcia said.
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