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Ethics Commission is getting started

SANTA FE – After the first five members of the state’s first Ethics Commission were sworn in Monday morning, the commission got down to work in the afternoon.

Commission chairman William Lang – who was appointed by Gov. Michell Lujan Grisham – and Stuart Bluestone, former Gov. Garrey Carruthers, Judy Villanueva and Frances Williams, each invited to join the commission by legislative leadership, laid out a plan to pick the final two members of the commission, an executive director and staff during a meeting at the state Capitol.

The commission is charged with investigating lawmakers’ compliance with certain state laws, including those covering campaign fundraising, financial disclosures, lobbyist regulations and the conduct of government officials.

The two members to round out the seven-member commission will be chosen by the current commissioners, excluding Lang.

As suggested by Bluestone, the commission will advertise the vacant commissioner positions with an op-ed newspaper piece that spells out the role of the panel and the qualifications required to serve on the commission. Tentatively, the deadline to apply will be Aug. 1. The four current commissioners making the selections could then interview candidates on Aug. 9.

The executive director likely won’t be selected until sometime in September. A job description and salary range will be determined prior to the job announcement.

Once the executive director is hired, that person will select someone to serve as general counsel.

The commission also took action to hire one or more staff people within a budget of $32,494.

In all, the Ethics Commission has a budget of $500,000, which includes salaries, setting up an office and website.

The five current members were sworn in Monday morning by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Judith Nakamura.

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