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Wed Sep 28, 2016, 09:11 PM

Federal judge holds Human Services Secretary Earnest in contempt

A federal judge held New Mexico’s top human services official in contempt Tuesday for failing to comply with court orders aimed at improving the administration of food aid and Medicaid health care benefits.

The contempt order against Human Services Department Secretary Brent Earnest by U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Gonzales upheld findings that the Cabinet secretary did not diligently attempt to comply with court orders concerning the handling of Medicaid benefit renewals, eligibility for immigrants, training for agency employees and other administrative requirements.

Gonzales said objections filed by the agency were without merit. “It remains clear that HSD and its officials have failed to exercise the leadership, control and managerial oversight to effectively come into compliance with the court orders,” the judge wrote.

A spokesman for the Human Services Department strongly disagreed with the judge’s characterization of the agency.

Read more: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/federal-judge-holds-human-services-secretary-earnest-in-contempt/article_38855ddb-5394-589e-afc9-41369a5b8f0d.html

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