Home Opinion Dear Editor Letter: Councilman Roebuck should have known better

Letter: Councilman Roebuck should have known better

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Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

I’m writing concerning the front page article on Sept. 17 about whether phone calls initiated by Councilman Roebuck violated the Open Meetings Act.

“It wasn’t anything formal,” just called some other councilmen, “trying to get a sense of what people liked and didn’t like and I just brought that information back to Joe.” (That is) unacceptable — and you should know better, councilman.

Asking around before the meeting … Huh? Out of sight of the public? As the chairman of the Finance Committee, your phone-calling around exerts undue influence on the other council members you spoke with and is 100% inappropriate. Likewise, the other council members were wrong to take your call.

While the rest of the country is demonstrating malfeasance on a large scale through a barrage of constant misinformation, re-writing history in the media and legislating themselves back into the dark ages with constitutionally-questionable laws impacting women’s health and election-suppression laws, to name just a couple, I still expect our local city council to function and perform their duties according to the laws that govern them.

We can all agree a huge amount of garbage is out on the internet, but there is also an amazing amount of useful material as well. For instance, if one were inclined, they could look up the New Mexico State Open Meetings Act Compliance Guide from 2015 (8th Edition) where they would find the legal description of a rolling quorum.

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Several relevant sentences found on pages 7-8 of the Guide, pertinent to this concern, are; “ … a quorum may exist for purposes of the Act even when the members are not physically present together at the same time and place. For example, if three members of a five member board discuss public business in a series of telephone or email conversations, the discussion is a meeting of a quorum. … The use of a rolling quorum to discuss public business or take action violates the Act …”

These things matter. We deserve better. It’s been a tough couple of years. These are simple things to avoid violating, being made by someone who really ought to know better after four years on the job. If you think so then say so at the polls this time around.

Sara McArthur
Roswell

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