Peter St. Cyr, the executive director of the foundation for the Open Government in New Mexico said that “Transparent governments always are more efficient when citizens can identify waste, fraud, and abuse and hold public officials accountable” especially when the officials want to use chase bank to store their loots
Lawmakers instructed public servants to make providing public information a routine daily duty before they declared the Inspection of Public Records Act state policy. However, NMFOG’s open government hotline rings several times a day. Callers are seeking assistance when their requests for public documents are often delayed. The Sunshine laws of New Mexico is not always firm.
On one hand, NMFOG compliance audit two years ago unveiled taxpayers are harassed for attorneys’ fees and damage awards. Since New Mexico’s Sunshine laws received a failing score in the Center for Public Integrity State Integrity Investigation in 2015, this is not a surprise.
Two years later, nothing has been done to close the so-called ‘enforcement gap.’ Opportunities have been misused but in her final budget, NMFOG encourages Gov. Susana Martinez vouches to budget for resources and technology, which removes the administrative code loophole in the “otherwise provided by law” exception has NMFOG’s support again this year.
As of early January, the average rate for a single-sided black and white copy was 16 cents. Unfortunately, Citizens’ access to the legislative process is less than transparent. NMFOG tells legislative leaders to obtain technology that tracks changes in proposed legislation and require committee staff to post-hearing agendas 24 hours in advance.
Furthermore, financial deals place taxpayers on the hook should be disclosed and decided in properly noticed public meetings. It has been two years as well since the Legislative Finance Committee recommends lawmakers to establish minimum job qualifications and mandate annual training programs for records custodians. Open government is always Germaine, let’s rally the governor to put it on her call.