Marc Saavedra, the University of New Mexico's chief lobbyist who last week was arrested for drunk driving for the third time, has submitted his resignation from his high-profile job.
had been under pressure from the university to quit, and his
departure is not entirely unexpected.
has been on administrative leave from UNM
arrest July 23.
The resignation is effective Aug. 8.
Officials at the university expressed mixed feelings over Saavedra's departure.
On the one hand, they noted a sense of sadness about his
drinking problem and related behavior; on the other, they said, during his
years as the top lobbyist, he
was remarkably effective as the university's liaison with state government and the Legislature.
"We'd like to thank Marc for his service and we regret the circumstances that led to this decision," said Executive Vice President for Administration David Harris following a meeting with Saavedra shortly before he resigned late Thursday.
"We are pleased that he
is taking responsibility and the opportunity to deal with the issues that created this situation."
A brief statement released by the university on Friday said that during that meeting,"Harris indicated that it would be best for all parties if Saavedra
were to resign, to which Saavedra
Saavedra's annual salary at UNM, where he directed the Office of Government and Community Affairs, is $155,980.
On Friday, Harris said Saavedra was an astute lobbyist in representing UNM in Santa Fe, particularly as it relates to funding for the university.
"We need someone like Marc
on top of that," Harris said.
principal strength was dealing with state government and the state Legislature.
was extremely articulate in representing (UNM's focus on) performance related issues.
Jamie Koch, a long-time member of the UNM Board of Regents, on Friday said Saavedra knows more about state financing and the way the Legislature works "than anybody I know."
The couple were identified as Saavedra
and Marsella Duarte.
In the DWI case, an officer pulled Saavedra
over at 10:15 p.m. last Wednesday after he
drove through a red light on 14th and Central, according to the criminal complaint.
told the officer he
had one glass of wine and repeated several times that he
was almost home, according to the complaint.
failed a field sobriety test and was arrested.
also failed a blood alcohol test, though the complaint doesn't state what his
The presumed level of intoxication is .08 percent.
In a short phone interview on Monday, Saavedra
acknowledged being charged with DWI for the third time and said he
had retained Rasheed & Associates
to represent him.
As far as his
job is concerned, he
intent "is to do what I can to improve and advance the university.
That's my goal."
The arrest, he
said, "could be a good thing in general," in response to a question about whether he
has a drinking problem.
"In the long run, it could be better, an opportunity to do good things with my life.
I know it'll be a tough road ahead, but I will do whatever I can to become a better person."
, 42, said he
has been drinking most of his
"It's just something I picked up, a part of life," he
first DWI conviction when he
was in college.
He was arrested again in 2006, shortly after he began working for UNM.
pleaded guilty and signed a "Last Chance Agreement" with the university in which he
agreed to undergo treatment and submit to random drug and alcohol testing.
also pledged not to drink alcohol as long as he
was employed by the university.
A subsequent agreement was issued and signed that stated a reccurrence could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination, a university official said this week.
In the 2006 case, Saavedra
pleaded guilty and was given a deferred sentence and placed on probation for one year.
was initially charged with aggravated DWI, he
pleaded guilty to a lesser DWI first-offense charge.
was ordered, among other things, not to possess or consume alcohol for a year.