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Op Ed by:
Ethics Commissioners Stuart M. Bluestone, Hon. Garrey C. Carruthers, Dr. Judy Villanueva and Frances F. Williams

Wanted: State Ethics Commissioners

SANTA FE — The new State Ethics Commission is looking for New Mexicans interested in serving on the Commission. We are the four new Commissioners appointed by the Democratic and Republican leaders of the New Mexico Legislature. The recently enacted State Ethics Commission Act requires the four of us to appoint two more Commissioners, and we are seeking letters of application or nomination for those positions. The main responsibility of the Commission is to help oversee, provide guidance about and enforce provisions of the State's ethics laws as they apply to State Executive and Legislative branch officers, employees, candidates, lobbyists and government contractors.

The Governor appointed Retired Judge William F. Lang as the Commission Chair. With the legislative leadership appointments of the four of us, three Democrats and two Republicans have now been appointed to the Commission. By law, no more than three members of the Commission may be members of the same political party.

The Commission went into effect on July 1, 2019. The two additional appointments will hopefully be made soon. Applicants should apply promptly, preferably by August 1, 2019. We are tentatively planning to interview finalists for the two positions on August 9, 2019.

Under the State Ethics Commission Act, an aspirational goal in making appointments to the Commission is to "give due regard to the cultural diversity of the state and to achieving geographical representation from across the state". The Commissioners appointed to date are from Albuquerque, Carlsbad, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.

To qualify for appointment to the Commission, a person must be a qualified voter in New Mexico; not have changed party registration in the last five years; and not have been, within the past two years: a public official or employee of the State Executive or Legislative branch or have been appointed to a State Executive or Legislative branch public agency; a candidate for a State Executive or Legislative office; a lobbyist as defined in State law; a government contractor or have submitted a competitive sealed bid with a State Executive or Legislative Branch public agency; or an officer in a State or National political party.

If you meet these qualifications and want to apply or nominate someone to serve as one of New Mexico's first State Ethics Commissioners, please submit a letter of application that lists or attaches a statement of qualifications, background and interests, an explanation of your commitment to Ethics in Government, and let us know why you want to serve.

Every Commissioner needs to review the State Ethics Commission Act and the other ethics laws and rules that the Commission has authority to review and enforce. These include the Governmental Conduct Act, Campaign Reporting Act, Financial Disclosure Act, Lobbyist Regulation Act, Gift Act, Voter Action Act and Procurement Code and the Anti-Donation Clause (Article 9, Section 14 of the Constitution of New Mexico). The State Ethics Commission Act can be accessed online at https://laws.nmonesource.com/w/nmos/Chapter-10-NMSA-1978#!b/10-16G-1. Commissioner positions are unsalaried and receive only travel and per diem payments for meetings.

One of our most important initial decisions is choosing a full-time Executive Director. We would like to begin advertising and searching for that person as soon as possible, and, ideally, we would like all seven Commissioners on board to make that decision.

Letters of Application or nomination to serve as a Commission can be sent by email to: ethics.commission@state.nm.us.

They can also be sent by postal mail to: State Ethics Commissioner Application, c/o Raúl E. Burciaga, Director, Legislative Council Service, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail - Suite 411, Santa Fe, NM 87501.

We look forward to getting excellent assistance to serve New Mexico in this important new venture. Thank you for your consideration.

Live from Silver City

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