New Mexico Spaceport Authority Executive Director Rick Homans has resigned after being ordered to by new Gov. Susana Martinez, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports:
Meanwhile, some Spaceport America board members expressed concerns about Martinez’s move and questioned whether Homans’ departure was good for the $209 million spaceport project as it goes through a key stage.
Homans, during an emergency meeting in Las Cruces, read a lengthy resignation statement, saying he’d hoped to stay longer.
“While I have embraced this project, it is clear that Gov. Martinez is not embracing me,” he said. “I understand politics, and I also understand how critical it is for her to have absolute trust and confidence in the executive leadership of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority.”
Homas was involved in the spaceport project from the beginning in 2005 until 2007, when he left to take a job in private industry. He was reappointed as executive director in June after the board fired his predecessor, Steve Landeene, over his participation in a land deal involving property adjoining the spaceport in Upham.
Homas said the new governor gave him the choice of resigning or being fired. His resignation will be effective on Friday.
Martinez, a Republican, has taken over from Democrat Bill Richardson, who was limited to 8 years as governor. She has been more skeptical of the project than her predecessor, who championed the spaceport where Virgin Galactic will fly its SpaceShipTwo vehicle on suborbital flights. Martinez has ordered an audit of the spaceport authority’s spending and vowed to find ways of ensuring that the spaceport will no longer require state funding.