|By Tom Sharpe, The Santa Fe New Mexican|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Rising said the
Rising said her inquiries into Feliciano's problems with other staffers also determined that he had made false accusations against a co-worker and falsely claimed that his wife's business,
Asked why even minor falsehoods are significant, Rising said people who testify on behalf of the Insurance Division need to tell the truth because otherwise "the question comes to mind, 'What else might that person be lying about?' ... It would [undermine] the integrity of the whole enforcement process."
Rising recommended Feliciano take training in "team building" and the "unauthorized practice of accountancy" rather than be fired, but he was terminated from his exempt position in 2009 by former commission chief of staff
A year later, Feliciano sued the commission, Mayfield and Chavez for wrongful termination, claiming they had retaliated against him for pointing out problems in the state agency that included hiring political contributors to conduct ineffective, costly and slow investigations into insurance fraud.
Feliciano's lawyers say his is the first case to reach trial under the state's 2010 Whistleblower Protection Act that calls for, among other things, double damages for plaintiffs who have been fired in retaliation for their efforts to expose corruption in state government.
State District Judge
(c)2013 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.)
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