Published: 1:00 pm, Sun. Jun. 5th, 2016Updated: 3:16 pm
The Eddy County Commission will address seven votes cast during 2014 that were recently found to be in violation of the Open Meetings Act at Tuesday’s regularly-scheduled meeting in Carlsbad.
New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a letter in late May to the Eddy County Board of Commissioners detailing 26 instances in which the board failed to provide adequately specific descriptions of closed-meeting actions.
On Tuesday, the commission and Eddy County Attorney Cas Tabor will take corrective action on seven votes determined to have been taken in violation of the OMA. They include:
• A vote of the commission on Jan. 16, 2014, restructuring the Emergency Services Department into two departments and appointing a director of emergency services.
That action was taken in response to unrest among the county’s volunteer fire departments, who threatened a walkout over conflicts between those entities and Emergency Services Director Joel Arnwine.
The commission voted unanimously to divide the ESD into Emergency Services and Fire Services, with the volunteer fire departments reporting to Fire Services coordinators who would then in turn report to Arnwine.
• A vote of the commission on May 6, 2014, approving a motion to join a lawsuit involving the Endangered Species Act.
• A vote of the commission on May 6, 2014, approving a utility right of way easement at the Happy Valley Fire Station.
• A vote of the commission on June 9, 2014, approving an agreement with law firm Lynch, Chappell and Alsup, PC, and Harper Estes and Lisa K. Hooper to represent the county as co-plaintiff in the Lesser Prairie Chicken endangered species litigation in federal court.
• A vote of the commission on June 9, 2014, approving an agreement with the Permian Basin Petroleum Association to join in the Lesser Prairie Chicken suit in federal court.
• A vote of the commission on Sept. 2, 2014, approving an extension of the contract for legal services being provided to the Eddy County Assessor’s Office in a pending Court of Appeals case against Eddy County.
• Raises issued to county manager Rick Rudometkin and county employees commencing July 1, 2014, per meetings of April 15, 2014, May 6, 2014, and May 20, 2014, voted on during the budget cycle for Fiscal Year 2014-15. Rudometkin’s raise was from $130,961 to $160,000, commencing in FY 14-15.
In other business Tuesday, the commission will also be swearing in former Artesia Fire Department Chief Kevin Hope as fire marshal and director of Fire Services for Eddy County.