"Over the past month and a half since taking office, my staff and I have identified a number of irregularities in contracts and purchasing processes conducted by the previous administration which appear to violate the New Mexico Procurement Code, and we have asked the State Auditor’s office to investigate those matters," Duran said in a statement.
Duran also said some documents appear to be missing from the office, but didn't specify what kind of information.
"Unless those documents are recovered, their disappearance could impair an independent audit that will be conducted later this year," she said.
In addition, Duran said that it looks like "data on a number of hard drives on office computers has been deleted. The data, if not recoverable, is significant to the core operations of the Office of the Secretary of State."
Former Secretary of State Mary Herrera left office last year amid a cloud of controversy, and this surely adds to it. The next question is what Balderas will do with the information.
UPDATE, 7:12 p.m.
Here's what Herrera has to say, in a statement:
The office of Secretary of State received a clean audit with zero findings for fiscal year ending June 30, 2010. I requested an exit audit for the last six month in writing to the NM State Auditor and Director of Department of Finance and Administration, no response was received.
We left the office well organized and all files were order.
We provided the new Secretary of State and her Deputy with a transition in December.
The new Deputy was invited to the office for a week for additional transition, we received no response.
Secretary of State elect was allowed to interview the employees, immediately after the transition.
Chief Financial Officer remained on the job for an additional week in January, to train and transition the new Financial Officer with budget issues, outstanding purchase orders, contracts, RFP’s, files, etc.
The overall budget reflected a 50.8 percent balance, we complied with the law.
All files were there, we have been in contact with the new administration answering any questions this year, if Secretary of State Dianna Duran still needs our help to understand the files or data, we are available to assist her.