New Mexico State University is paying for former president Barbara Couture's $453,092 "golden parachute" with savings accumulated from as many as 15 vacant administrative positions, officials said.
Meanwhile, Couture's payout — a condition of her separation agreement with the university — is drawing criticism from state lawmakers who feel that legislation is needed to stop golden parachutes for highly paid employees who resign or are fired from state institutions.
"The whole thing bothers me. They are using funds on positions they got vacant, and there's a whole bunch of positions I know they needed to fill," said state Rep. Andy Nuñez, I-Hatch, an NMSU alumnus.
"That's crazy. That's almost a half-million dollars of your money and my money," said Nuñez, who added that he would support a bill in the next legislative session to ban golden parachutes for government employees.