CHARLENE KNIPFING’S CHRISTMAS POT LUCKS
The Espanola birthday frolic for Charlene Knipfing, Director of the New Mexico Probation and Parole Department is not an isolated incident of vehicle abuse, several Correction of Department employees inform us.It seems state-owned vehicles have been used on more than one occasion to ferry employees to parties arranged by Knipfing away from the office.
We reported last week
how Knipfing requested a birthday luncheon at Angelina’s Restaurant in Espanola, and her administrative assistant arranged for Correction Department employees to drive in state vehicles from their Santa Fe office 40 miles to the restaurant and back. A tip from an alert and dedicated state employee tipped us off. We witnessed the vehicle abuse and snapped photos of the three state vehicles shuttling employees to Knipfing’s birthday meal. Knipfing was suspended for five days without pay for violating state law against personal use of state vehicles. The other employees are under investigation. New Mexico Administrative Code 18.104.22.168 prohibits any private use of state vehicles.
Since that report we have received e-mails from other current Correction Department employees of other shenanigans. An annual Christmas party at Knipfing’s house in the middle of the workday has been confirmed by the following e-mail. A state worker, frustrated at the blatant violation of state law, preserved this e-mail until she found someone who would publicize what’s been going on.
Here’s the e-mail. Rhonda Petty is Knipfing’s administrative assistant. Notice how many people were copied on this instruction to use state vehicles to bring state workers to Knipfing’s house party.
From: Petty, Rhonda, NMCD
Sent: Mon 12/8/2008 10:13 AM
To: Valdez, Elizabeth, NMCD; Knipfing, Charlene, NMCD; Helwig, Sherry, NMCD; Martinez, Debra C, NMCD; Shea, Jennifer, NMCD; Jablonski, David, NMCD; Martinez, Dolores V., NMCD; Chavez, Karen J., NMCD; Walsh, Deborah J, NMCD; Rodriguez, Tanya, NMCD; Ambabo, Jeremiah G., NMCD; Lucero, Benji, NMCD; Perdue, Paula, NMCD; Estrada, Michael, NMCD; Parish, Jo A., NMCD; Ebell, Phyllis, NMCD; Dole, Kris M., NMCD; Bobchak, Rose, NMCD; Duran, Elsie, NMCD; Carson, Gary T., NMCD; May, Robert, NMCD; Olsen, Tim, NMCD; Gonzales, Edward, NMCD; Larranaga, Gabriel, NMCD
Subject: Central Office Christmas Luncheon
Folks: This is a reminder that Central Office staff is invited to attend a luncheon on Charlene’s home this coming Friday 12/12/08. Employees will need to meet at the Monte Vista office at 11 a.m. for a brief meeting, & then everyone will go to Charlene’s house for lunch. Staff members are asked to utilize state vehicles for carpooling purposes. Mileage will not be reimbursed in the event that personal vehicles are used.
Reminder for gift exchange: If you are participating in the Secret Santa 12 Days of Christmas gift exchange, please bring your first gift tomorrow & each day thereafter. Identities will be revealed on the last day of the gift exchange. For more details, please see Karen Chavez or Paula Perdue. If you are participating in the White Elephant gift exchange, please bring your wrapped unisex gift valued at $15-20 on Friday to Charlene’s house.
Reminder for food items: Please bring an item for the luncheon on Friday. If you have not signed up for a particular item, please contact me or Karen Chavez to advise what you will bring. The sign-up sheet with present items listed is attached for your review.
Please RSVP to me today if you will be attending the luncheon on Friday. Charlene needs a final count to begin food prepartaions. Thanks!
Rhonda W. Petty
Probation & Parole Division
New Mexico Corrections Department
P: (505) 827-8830 F: (505) 827-8831
No Comment from the Corrections Department
Our last report drew a quick response from the Corrections Department. We forwarded this e-mail last week to Tia Bland, the Correction Department’s Public Information Officer. We have so far received no response to our question whether this was an appropriate use of taxpayer-owned vehicles.