ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department has reached a $650,000 settlement in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two former agency officials.
The settlement was announced Tuesday, just weeks before the case was scheduled to go to trial in a state district court in Santa Fe.
The suit was brought by former CYFD public information officer Cliff Gilmore and his wife, Debra Gilmore, who headed the agency’s office of children’s rights.
The couple were both fired in 2021 after raising concerns about the CYFD’s practice of conducting official business through an encrypted messaging app and automatically deleting messages in potential violation of New Mexico’s public records law, according to their lawsuit.
“We wanted to hold CYFD accountable and stand up for others who may have been treated the way we were,” the Gilmores said in a joint statement. “We aimed to shine light on what we believed to be wrongdoing that was directly harmful to the very children that CYFD was sworn to protect.”
CYFD admitted no wrongdoing or liability in agreeing to settle and an agency spokesperson declined to comment other than to say the case had been resolved and the settlement was public.