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8:35am — Capitan Mayor Bars Public Comment

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Order follows stormy meetings over village’s police troubles.

Capitan Mayor Sam Hammons has issued an edict barring public comment at meetings of the Village Board of Trustees, according to the Ruidoso News.

The mayor had posted bans on public comment at a regular board meeting on Sept. 12 where more than 100 people attended for the expected firing of Police Chief Robert Bird and at a Sept. 26 special meeting called to hire new Chief Randy Spear, the News reported.

A letter drafted by Village Clerk Kay Strickland at the behest of Sammons went out with all village water bills and was posted on the village’s Web site, according to the News.

The letter says public comment will not be allowed on regular items at board meetings.

"The Open Meetings Act does not require a public body to allow members of the public to speak at its meetings," the letter read. "All of you are encouraged to participate in our representative democracy by contacting your elected officials directly to discuss any issues."

The News, which printed names and contact numbers of the mayor and trustees, noted that until the two recent stormy meetings over police issues it had long been a tradition to allow for questions and answers and open discussion.


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