Former Tucumcari city official files whistleblower suit

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

A Tucumcari city official who filed a lawsuit alleging the city took action against him in violation of the Whistleblower Protection Act was fired last week.

Tucumcari City Manager Bobbye Rose said John “Marty” Garcia was terminated as city treasurer July 6, but declined to state the reason, citing personnel matters.

Rose said Garcia was demoted in May because he “violated city procedure” in releasing “inaccurate personnel information” to city commissioners. Rose said requests for that type of information are supposed to go through the city manager.

Garcia filed the whistleblower complaint July 2 in the 10th Judicial District Court, one day after he was demoted from city finance director to city treasurer.

Garcia claims he was demoted because he provided information to Tucumcari city commissioners at their request on May 11.

Garcia states he provided information regarding positions of employment, how those positions were filled and information about budgeted and unbudgeted salaries and salary increases.

“Mr. Garcia filed the complaint after he was demoted, had his salary cut and retirement benefits reduced,” said Duff Westbrook, Garcia’s attorney. “These are actions which are prohibited by the Whistleblower Protection Act.”

Garcia states in the document that his demotion removed his supervisory authority, and cut his salary by over $6,000, which resulted in reduced retirement benefits.

Garcia is demanding a judgment against the city, forcing it to reinstate him to his former position of employment, awarding actual damages, double back pay with interest and special damages for attorney fees and court costs.