Jackie Lindsey, who headed the state’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for less than a year, resigned Tuesday — just a day after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Attorney General Hector Balderas, members of the state’s congressional delegation and House Speaker Brian Egolf met with her on efforts to combat potential domestic terrorism in New Mexico.
Lindsey is the third Cabinet secretary to leave her position since Lujan Grisham took office.
“After careful consideration, I have decided to resign as the Cabinet secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to focus on my family and my health,” Lindsey said in her statement to Lujan Grisham.
Deputy Secretary Kelly Hamilton will serve as acting secretary, and the Governor’s Office said in a statement it is now searching for a successor.
A spokeswoman for the governor, Nora Meyers Sackett, said she didn’t have any more details to provide about Lindsey’s departure.
Former Education Secretary Karen Trujillo was removed from office in July, just six months after being appointed by the governor. She had declined a request to resign after failing to meet the governor’s expectations on making changes in the education system, the governor has said.
In August, New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department Secretary Alice Liu McCoy left her $150,000-a-year position for another job as executive director of the state Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. She was replaced by Katrina Hotrum-Lopez, formerly Bernalillo County’s behavioral health services director.
Lindsey’s resignation comes just before a winter storm is expected to sweep across Northern New Mexico.
The department’s Emergency Operations Center will remain open and work with emergency management officers from across the state.
Before becoming a Cabinet secretary, Lindsey, a onetime member of the Canadian Olympic team in softball, was captain of homeland security and emergency management for the Albuquerque Fire Department, where she had worked for 17 years.
She was captain of fire investigations for the department before that, and she served 10 years on the former New Mexico Urban Search and Rescue Team unit.
Under Lindsey, the Homeland Security department announced a new drone program to track fires and floods, and possibly help locate migrants on open stretches of desert. During her time as secretary, Lindsey also worked to beef up infrastructure funding and law enforcement in remote border areas.
The department also helped provide funding to cities in Southern New Mexico dealing with an influx of asylum-seekers crossing the border earlier this year.