I am voting for Amendment No. 2 on the upcoming ballot about our Utilities Board.
Contrary to the opponent’s dire depictions, it does not give unchecked power to council, or radically change the government structure established in the 1960s.
It does, however, put in some fail-safes and backstops that I think most of us would actually assume are in place now.
Our local government has two parts. One is the Department of Public Utilities, which provides water, sewer, gas and electric. It is managed by a utility manager, policy decisions are set by a citizen utility board, and neither the board nor the manager reports to council.
The second is the county government, providing police, fire protection, libraries, parks, and the jail, for instance. These are managed by a county administrator, policies are set by the county council and you elect the council.
With Amendment No. 2, the changes:
• Require the utility board to abide by the Sunshine Laws of New Mexico — to announce all meetings and agendas.
• Require the board to report once a quarter to the community — in a report to council — any issues that might be of concern.
• Require the board, once every five years, to hire an outside utility consultant to review their processes.