- Associated Press - Friday, September 12, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico legislator is criticizing a state agency for spending $600,000 on employee break rooms.

KRQE-TV (https://bit.ly/1uLvXdl ) reports that the Department of Health found the money in its budget and used it to build four break rooms in its multistory building in Santa Fe.

Health Department Secretary Retta Ward defends the expenditure, saying it was important for employees’ health and safety to have places to take breaks, eat meals and wash dishes.

Senate Finance Chair John Arthur Smith says lawmakers weren’t informed about the spending and he says it’s not financially responsible.

The Deming Democrat says hospitals and other health care facilities are higher priorities for funding.

Ward responds that the department is meeting the critical needs of patients in state facilities.

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