Former CYFD Employees File Whistleblower Protection Lawsuit Against CYFD, Cabinet Secretary Brian Blalock, And Deputy Cabinet Secretary Terry Locke

From the Office of Davis & Gilchrist, P.C.:

The the Office of Davis & Gilchrist, P.C. announced Friday that a new lawsuit alleges that Debra and Cliff W. Gilmore were unlawfully terminated by the New Mexico’s Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD), CYFD Secretary Brian Blalock, and CYFD Deputy Secretary Terry Locke.

Debra and Cliff Gilmore raised legitimate concerns about several ethical issues within the Department, including:

  • CYFD’s use of the Signal text messaging application at the direction of Sec. Blalock and Dep. Sec. Locke for official CYFD communication with many discussions set to auto-delete after 24-hours in violation of New Mexico’s records retention and inspection laws;
  • Failure of CYFD to properly manage a multi-million-dollar Comprehensive Child Welfare Information System (CCWIS) project, including non-competitive procurement of the CCWIS solution from a California company called Binti at Sec. Blalock’s direction;
  • Sec. Blalock and Dep. Sec. Locke authorizing contracted employees to complete performance appraisals of full-time public employees in violation of state law and policy;
  • Sec. Blalock and Dep. Sec. Locke directing that a specific candidate be advanced through the interview-for-hiring process in violation of state fair hiring laws and policies. 

Following their ethics complaints, Sec. Blalock and Dep. Sec. Locke terminated the Gilmores’ employment on the same day.

“This is, in our experience and opinion, one of the most egregious cases of retaliation in response to employees raising legitimate concerns about unlawful or improper acts in government,” said Bryan J. Davis, one of the Gilmores’ attorneys.

“Over the course of nearly 30 years as a public affairs professional, I have guided and advised some incredible leaders. Those truly committed to making informed decisions in the best interests of the public actively invited hard questions, expert opinion, and candid feedback,” Cliff W. Gilmore said.

“I accepted CYFD’s offer to lead a new Office of Children’s Rights, which included the responsibility of calling out needed reforms in CYFD’s policies and practices. Our commitment to the children and families of New Mexico has not changed,” Debra Gilmore said.

A copy of the complaint alleging CYFD, Sec. Blalock, and Dep. Sec. Locke violated the New Mexico Whistleblower Protection Act is provided with this statement. For more information contact: Bryan J. Davis or Shayne C. Huffman, at 505.435.9908, bryan@dglnm.com, shayne@dglnm.com.

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