Members of the Roswell City Council will meet Thursday to talk about an ordinance proposed to update and clarify the responsibilities of the mayor, city manager and other top city employees.
This workshop begins at 2 p.m. at City Hall, 425 N. Richardson Ave., in the large conference room.
The city’s Legal Committee has spent the past couple of months creating revisions and additions to Chap. 2 of the city code. The proposed version is about 16 pages long, with pages of new material.
Explanations about how management responsibilities are divvied up between the city manager and its elected officials, particularly the mayor and council, are just one portion revamped in this proposal.
Another process being described has to do with how council decides what items require their focus. For example, Sec. 2-46 of the city’s Administrative Code doesn’t require every item be recommended to councilors for possible action by a committee. An addition proposed provides an alternative by allowing that an item could be taken up by the council if four counselors or the mayor ask for it.
In addition, Sec. 2-53 is a new portion of the code titled “Creation of Offices, Appointed Officers.” The language, as proposed, declares as appointee officers the city manager, city clerk, city treasurer-finance officer, chief of police, city auditor and city attorney. It also describes which offices will be independent and apart from city departments, Clerk, Treasurer-Finance, Chief of Police, City Auditor and City Attorney.
The suggested language of the next section, 2-54, then puts in words a process for appointing these employees, excluding the city manager and auditor.
This includes the mayor and councilors coming together for an organizational meeting, during which the mayor will submit names of people to fill appointive officers as well as for “various boards or commissions of the city.”
Any openings that remain unfilled after that meeting will call for a repeat of this process at subsequent regular council meetings until the positions have been filled.
Also spelled out are the qualifications and responsibilities of these key employees.
Starting in Sec. 2-96, the city auditor’s investigative scope is proposed to not be limited by the city manager or city attorney, though there are some exceptions for the latter, such as when the auditor’s work interferes with another agency’s criminal investigation, including one being handled internally by the police and fire departments, for example.
This officer and employees of this office couldn’t involve themselves in “any partisan political activities or the political affairs of the city during working hours,” either.
The city manager, a position at the city that’s being filled currently by Mike Mathews, the deputy city manager and referred to as acting city manager, is mostly explained under New Mexico Statutes, Chap. 3-14 with some additions.
The information packet for the workshop also includes an opinion from the Attorney General’s Office dated June 23, 2022, responding to an inquiry made by State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, (District 58, R-Roswell).
Questions in this document mostly pertain to the city’s mayor-council form of government and how it characterizes the reach of a city manager. Among them were whether certain offices — manager, clerk, attorney, police officer (chief), treasurer — are within administrative service, and whether the city manager could eliminate the office of the clerk and “require the person holding the position of clerk to report to the city attorney?”
The second question stems from that occurring in Roswell city government in 2022 after longtime City Clerk Sharon Coll resigned this past February, less than a month before the March 1 election for mayor and city councilors.
There were two city clerks employed during part of 2022: An interim city clerk appointed by then-Mayor Dennis Kintigh, and a city clerk who arrived in May after being appointed by the city manager.
The response from the Attorney General’s office is that the city manager has no authority within the municipal code “to fill appointed municipal offices,” “eliminate or change the duties of the office of the clerk,” or “make unilateral changes to the salary and benefits of appointed municipal officers.”
Further, the “city manager serves at the pleasure of the city council and, like other municipal officers, is responsible for reporting to and carrying out the policy decisions of the council,” the opinion also stated.
The city is still looking for a new city manager after the resignation of Joe Neeb in November 2022, after having been suspended by Mayor Timothy Jennings. Neeb is using accrued time until his resignation becomes effective next month.
Now-City Clerk Amalia Martinez was appointed to the position in November.
City Attorney Hess Yntema explained that the opinion from the Attorney General’s office helped to form the proposed local code changes, though other portions are from other sources, including the city’s Legal Committee.
City officials aren’t able to make requests directly for written opinions on local issues to the Attorney General’s Office but can ask a state representative to inquire on their behalf, Mayor Timothy Jennings said during a recent committee meeting about a separate issue, the Municipal Infrastructure Reimbursement Program.
No action will be taken during the workshop.
Reporter Terri Harber can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 308, or email@example.com.
Best trending stories from the week.
Success! An email has been sent to with a link to confirm list signup.
Error! There was an error processing your request.
You may occasionally receive promotions exclusive discounted subscription offers from the Roswell Daily Record. Feel free to cancel any time via the unsubscribe link in the newsletter you received. You can also control your newsletter options via your user dashboard by signing in.