He is to start work Jan. 6
The New Mexico Finance Authority will offer Robert Coalter, its choice for CEO, a three-year contract with a starting salary of $160,000 a year.
Nann Winter, outgoing chairwoman of the finance authority's board of directors, said Monday that Coalter's contract calls for three months' severance pay if he were fired.
She said the board had reached "a handshake agreement" with Coalter, who is to start work Jan. 6.
Coalter, 55. now is executive director of the Texas Public Finance Authority. His salary will be $10,000 a year higher than that of Rick May, who was fired by the New Mexico Finance Authority board after a scandal in the agency last year.
Winter, appearing before a legislative committee, described Coalter as a knowledgeable professional, a hands-on manager and a mentor for his staff members.
She told legislators that she did not want to rehash the scandal that had kept the NMFA in the public eye for the last 17 months.
Board members fired May after one of his executives compiled and issued a fraudulent audit.
May has said he was a scapegoat. The fake audit went undetected by the board's audit committee as well as May.
No money was stolen from the NMFA, making the phony audit by former controller Greg Campbell an irrational act by one person, May said.
Campbell pleaded guilty to three felonies, and a judge placed him on probation.
After the board fired May, it hired former state budget director John Gasparich as interim CEO.
His job was to rebuild the finance authority's credibility and credit rating. It provides low-cost loans to local governments for capital improvements.
State Rep. Jim White, right, R-Albuquerque, downplayed the scandal when members of the Legislative Finance Authority Committee briefly questioned Winter. White criticized press coverage of the phony audit as excessive.
"It really wasn't that bad," White said. "The publications and the way it was covered were really bad."