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Retired judge to head ethics commission

William Lang

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Retired Judge William Lang will serve as chairman of New Mexico’s newly created ethics commission – a seven-member group that will begin hearing ethics complaints next year.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced the appointment Monday. In a written statement, her office called Lang “a well-respected jurist who worked in New Mexico law for nearly 40 years and continues to serve the community.”

Lang is a former chief judge in the state’s 2nd Judicial District Court in Albuquerque. He also has served as a Metropolitan Court judge, worked in private practice and served as a mediator and an arbitrator.

The other appointees are:

• Santa Fe attorney Stuart Bluestone, appointed by House Speaker Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe.

• Former New Mexico Gov. Garrey Carruthers, appointed by Senate Minority Leader Stuart Ingle, R-Portales.

• Judy Villanueva of Carlsbad, a former administrator at Texas Tech University and El Paso Community College, appointed by House Minority Leader James Townsend, R-Artesia.

• Frances Williams, a former White Sands Missile Range official appointed by Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces.

Lang is the final external appointee to the commission. State law calls for the governor’s appointee to be a retired judge who serves as chairman of the commission.

The four legislatively appointed members, meanwhile, will pick two more people to join the commission, giving the group seven members overall.

The new commission can begin holding meetings as soon as July, but it won’t start accepting ethics complaints or requests for advisory opinions until next year.

The commission is empowered to investigate allegations against legislators, lobbyists, elected officials and government contractors.

It will hire an executive director, who will, in turn, hire a general counsel and other full-time staffers.

New Mexico voters approved a constitutional amendment last year creating the new ethics commission, and lawmakers this year approved legislation outlining the commission’s powers and procedures.

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