SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The governor’s office is answering questions about the use of private messaging apps among staffers. The Santa Fe New Mexican is reporting WhatsApp and the Signal app on other staffers’ taxpayer-funded cell phones including the governor’s spokespeople Tripp Stelnicki and Nora Meyers Sackett.
Some question if these apps are a potential violation of New Mexico’s transparency laws as they could be encrypted and deleted and not be retrieved as part of a public records request. Children’s Cabinet Secretary Director Miriana Padilla is also listed as having the Signal app on her phone.
The same app was used by some New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department staffers which prompted an Attorney General’s Office investigation. On Thursday, Meyers Sacket responded to KRQE News 13’s request for comment saying Stelnicki only used the app once when it was the only way to contact a cabinet member internationally and that she has actually never used it.
She also said that it is in no way taking away from public transparency and WhatsApp uses the same encryption as iMessage. She said it’s “the same standard texting communication that people do in workplaces every day”.