Board of Public Utilities Vice Chair David Powell, who initiated the board’s first self-evaluation, opened a recent meeting to discuss the self-evaluation’s findings with a question that had been overlooked in October: Do board members support the organization publicly?
Board member Andrew Fraser suggested, “If we work harder to have unanimous votes and build consensus, then it will be less likely for members not to support the positions of the board.”
Fraser acknowledged that consensus would have to be worked toward during the meeting, since the New Mexico Open Meetings Act prevents private conversations about board business between members.
“We’re sort of handcuffed on our efforts to communicate with each other because of trying to bend over backwards for this Open Meetings Act,” member Stephen McLin said. “I’m not trying to bring that into discredit. We don’t want back door meetings in secret. That’s not a good thing. So how do we communicate with one another?”
Powell turned the conversation toward what he viewed as the real issue, which is how those in the minority behave once a vote has been taken.
He suggested that it was appropriate for board members to voice their opinion and seek public input beforehand, but not afterward.