DOÑA ANA COUNTY, New Mexico -- After eight years of clean audits, a 2019 independent audit found that the former assessor for Doña Ana County was overpaid more than $13,000 over the course of three years.
"You have a small blemish on your record," said Farley Vener, who works for Hinkle + Landers, an accounting firm based in northern New Mexico.
"With our audits being clean, does this change that?" asked County Commission Shannon Reynolds, who represents district three.
"Yes," replied Vener.
According to the audit, former County Assessor Andy Segovia was overpaid $13,661.88 during his term, which ended in December 2018.
The overpayments in years 2015, 2016 and 2017 were due to a "misinterpretation" of incentive pay to assessors with appraiser certificates, according to the audit.
Aside from Commissioner Reynolds' question, no commissioners addressed the overpayment issue.
"If you've had a clean audit for eight years and you have one finding in this audit, why is there not a discussion about that audit?" asked Dolores Lucero, a taxpayer in the county. "I don't understand the silence."
In December 2018, the county informed Segovia that $1,500 would be deducted from his final two paychecks. His remaining balance on the overpayment when he left office was $12,161.88, according to the audit.
In May 2019, Doña Ana County Manager Fernando Macias hired Segovia as the building's new facilities manager.
"He was the most qualified candidate for the job," Macias told ABC-7. "He's been an excellent director of facilities."
Macias said former Assessor Segovia is in the process of paying back the $12,161.88 with money deducted from his new paycheck as facilities manager.
The New Mexico Attorney General's Office is addressing the state statutes that govern additional compensation for assessors (4-39-5 and 4-39-4), according to the audit.
"The Attorney General is answering the question, as to whether an elected county assessor, even though he carried the highest certifications, whether they were entitled to this additional compensation that was allowed by the legislature," Macias said.