Former state executive files a lawsuit against governor claiming discrimination

Politics - Government

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A longtime state executive is suing Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and other state officials, saying she was paid a lot less for doing essentially the same job as a male counterpart. Jan Goodwin spent more than a decade as the Executive Director of the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board.

Goodwin says she was paid nearly $100,000 less than a male employee in a similar role. “If it’s wrong with this picture you know it’s wrong in other pictures. So this case is important for every woman, working woman in this state because if they’ll do it to the woman who tries to break the barrier at the highest level, they’ll do it for you,” says attorney Merit Bennett.

Goodwin served as the Executive Director of the NMERB since March 2008. The board provides retirement benefits to active and retired employees of New Mexico public schools and colleges. in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, she says she was paid about $183,000 annually while her male counterpart at the New Mexico State Investment Council was making about $276,000 a year.

The lawsuit claims Goodwin was clearly more qualified. Her lawyer says both Goodwin and her male counterpart manage investment funds for the state for various interests and should be paid equally.

Goodwin started under then-Governor Bill Richardson and the lawsuit says the pay disparity continued through his administration, was ignored by former Governor Susana Martinez and by Governor Lujan Grisham now. “What happened in this state was wrong and it has been wrong for a long time, three governors now have had a chance to correct it,” Bennett says.

The lawsuit also alleges that Governor Lujan Grisham blocked potential pay raises for Goodwin because was she was jealous that Goodwin was being paid more. “The governor herself is being discriminated against in her pay. I think she’s ranked in the ’40s in the country in terms of pay for a governor,” Bennett says.

The governor’s office says the allegations of jealousy are preposterous and without merit. Goodwin is suing for the 10 years of pay disparities she believes she’s owed.

Goodwin resigned in March and has since relocated to New Hampshire where she’s the director of the state’s retirement system there. She makes $235,000 annually.

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