SF's finance committee OKs changes in rules for City Council meetings - Albuquerque Journal

SF’s finance committee OKs changes in rules for City Council meetings

SANTA FE – The city of Santa Fe’s Finance Committee on Monday approved several changes to the governing body’s procedural rules that, according to a staff memo, are intended “to ensure a more fair, judicious and efficient public process.”

But some proposed changes to the rules were rejected based on concerns raised during a public hearing that the alterations made the process less transparent and infringed on the First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

Two of the proposals would have placed restrictions on how many times and for how long a city councilor could speak on an issue during a meeting. One proposal would have limited the number of times a councilor could speak on any matter to three times and for no more than a total of 10 minutes. Another would have set the same restrictions on discussion of any motion, not counting the one minute they would have to explain their vote.

“We feel this could hinder discussion of complex issues,” former City Councilor Karen Heldmeyer – who was representing a consortium of groups that included New Mexico Common Cause, the Old Santa Fe Association, the Santa Fe Neighborhood Network and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government – said during the public hearing.

Heldmeyer and others worked with City Councilor Carmichael Dominguez, who introduced the changes, and city staff on modifications of an original draft.

She said that it was important that councilors not be restricted when discussing issues that were in the best interest of the citizenry and that it would require additional resources to keep track of how much time each councilor had used to speak.

Dominguez explained that the intent of the proposals was to make meetings go quicker by limiting the amount of time councilors could pontificate.

Also rejected by the committee was an amendment that would have allowed the chairman to have a person removed from the meeting. The panel was warned by two of the nine people who spoke during the public comment period that such a rule could lead to a lawsuit over freedom of speech. The committee left in language that says the chair may call a person to order if they make personal, intemperate or slanderous remarks.

The panel also turned down a proposal that would have required any action item concerning contracts, agreements or other matters that had a fiscal impact of more than $100,000 during a fiscal year to automatically be pulled off the consent calendar to be addressed by the governing body individually.

The committee accepted an amendment that requires the governing body to state with “reasonable” specificity what it was voting on after it returned from executive session.

Twice in the past 20 months the City Council has come out of executive session and voted to approve what had been discussed in executive session, without disclosing what that discussion was about.

The amended legislation is scheduled to come before the full City Council on July 27.

Home » Journal North » Journal North Recent News » SF’s finance committee OKs changes in rules for City Council meetings


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Editorial: NM merits radiation compensation, too
Editorials
Extending the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act ... Extending the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act another two years was the right thing to do. Conti ...
2
Editorial: Sorry, NM lawmaking doesn’t need armed staff
Editorials
Guns can be intimidating. That's why ... Guns can be intimidating. That's why crooks often brandish them while robbing stores.  &n ...
3
County closes Carlito Springs, bans open fires
ABQnews Seeker
Ban will remain in place until ... Ban will remain in place until further notice
4
Hidden fuels still a threat in northern blazes
ABQnews Seeker
Weather shifts to critical fire Weather shifts to critical fire
5
Dems condemn ads in treasurer primary race
2022 election
Party leaders ask Eichenberg to halt ... Party leaders ask Eichenberg to halt his 'mudslinging'
6
Voters to decide two Dems for District Court posts
2022 election
Winners of Division 10, 16 will ... Winners of Division 10, 16 will likely run unopposed in November
7
Two first-generation Americans face off in CD2 Democratic primary
2022 election
Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to ... Vasquez, Patel vie for chance to run against Yvette Herrell, the state's only Republican member of Congress
8
Shooting by Chaves County sheriff's deputies raises questions
ABQnews Seeker
Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening ... Lapel camera footage shows deputies opening fire on man
9
Over 50? Make sure to keep an eye on ...
From the newspaper
The month of May brings awareness ... The month of May brings awareness to osteoporosis awareness and prevention