Digital BNC contest
This year entries for the Better Newspaper contest be will be entered and judged by digital submission. NMPA will be sending out a series of emails on how to upload entries and will give you plenty of time to get familiar with the entry website before contest time. This year the BNC contest will be judged by the Kentucky Press Association and we will return the favor by judging their contest in the fall. Look for more details to follow. Entries will be entered at http://betternewspapercontest.com/
New educational opportunity from NMFOG!
Register now for our May 18 seminar on public records and open meetings laws and find out what you need to know about public access to government.
Hear about the latest developments in case law and learn how to make ethical decisions about public access from FOG Hotline attorneys Martin R. Esquivel, Charles R. Peifer, Charles "Kip" Purcell, Robert M. White and Gregory P. Williams, with Kent Walz.
The class qualifies for six Continuing Legal Education credits (including one ethics/professionalism credit) but will be useful for public officials, journalists, students and community members. For the full agenda and to register, click on the link below.
Officials Want To Ban Recordings
Torrance County Commissioners seem to be coming dangerously close to violating not only the state's Open Meetings Act but also the United States Constitution.
At the commission meeting on Feb. 22, a resolution was introduced to ban the public and media from recording meetings.
Resolution 2012-07 says that "the public is strictly prohibited from operating audio and/or visual recording devices within the Commission Chambers."
This appears to be in violation of the New Mexico Open Meetings Act, which says that during public meetings "reasonable efforts shall be made to accommodate the use of audio and video recording devices."Read more
Violations of policy, law revealed in Questa audit
The state Attorney General's Office is investigating the village of Questa following a recently released audit that alleges violations of the procurement code, the Open Meetings Act and the Anti-Donation Clause, among other findings.
Conducted by Precision Accounting, of Albuquerque, the audit of the village during the 2010-2011 fiscal year resulted in 35 findings. The audit claims the village failed to follow state and federal requirements, as well as its own ordinances, in a number of areas, calling into question council votes, village contracts, financial procedures and various expenditures.
Questa Mayor Esther García said many of the audit's findings arose from recent staff turnover and an ongoing mold problem that had prevented the village from accessing a number of records.Read More
Judge dismisses priest's defamation suit
The New Mexico Supreme Court has made the grounds more restrictive for defamation cases by ruling against an Episcopal priest who sued four parishioners for accusing him of pedophilia. State District Court Judge Nan Nash dismissed the Rev.Walter F. Smith Ill's lawsuit, ruling he had not demonstrated an injury to his reputation. The state Court of Appeals in 2010 overturned Nash's ruling, finding that "humiliation and mental anguish is sufficient to establish actual injury for liability purposes in a defamation action."
But on Monday, the state Supreme Court unanimously reversed the appellate court, effectively upholding Nash's decision.
County Website Wins Award
Bernalillo County's website.www.bernco.gov, was among 214 government sites nationwide to receive an award for transparency.
Albuquerque Praised for Transparency
The city of Albuquerque's website has been awarded an A-plus for transparency.
Las Cruces website wins national award for transparency Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency, has selected the website for Las Cruces municipal government as one of the winners of its "Sunny Awards" for 2012.
New Mexico scores poorly in government accountability report
A nationwide review finds that New Mexico is at higher risk of corruption than most other states because of poor accountability and transparency in government.
The Center for Public Integrity hired reporters in all 50 states to look at various criteria to see how well the laws protected against corruption. New Mexico received a D-, good for the 39th ranking out of all states.
Newspaper joins city in effort to draw Texas travelers
About 330,000 Texans in the more affluent parts of Dallas and Houston will get a 24-page tabloid promoting Santa Fe as a tourist destination in their newspaper on Easter Sunday, April 8.
RSVP Santa Fe is a joint production of the city of Santa Fe and the Santa Fe New Mexican aimed at advertising the city's hotels, restaurants, art galleries and special events to its biggest tourism market.
The total press run of 350,000 full-color supplements is the largest in the history of The New Mexican and the first time the newspaper has partnered with city government on such a project.
The supplements will be stuffed into copies of The New Mexican delivered to subscribers April 8, as well as to subscribers to the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle in certain ZIP codes -- but not in copies of those newspapers sold in machines or at newsstands.Read more
Woman gets probation for assaulting Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES - A retired attorney who assaulted a Sun-News reporter last fall in U.S. District Court in Las Cruces has been placed on probation for one year and ordered to pay a $250 fine and complete 10 hours of community service.
Federal prosecutors requested today that Marjorie Reese Stewart, 75, serve 30 days in jail for her actions on Sept. 29, when she elbowed and shoved former Sun-News reporter Ashley Meeks, who was at the federal courthouse covering a hearing for Stewart's relatives who are charged with selling weapons and ammunition to undercover federal agents and a Mexican cartel member turned government informant.Read more
Officials block efforts to obtain public records
For the better part of the past year, city officials resisted The New Mexican's attempts to bring to the public eye documents pertaining to alleged embezzlement of public funds from the Parking Division.
The newspaper repeatedly requested the documents under the provisions of the state's Inspection of Public Records Act.Read more
Open Meetings Act: City of TorC Still More Opaque Than Transparent
Public oversight and participation are not yet improving, under the City of Truth or Consequences' new city commission, Last week -on Wednesday, March 21- the Airport Advisory Board met at 4 p.m.
City Clerk Mary Penner said the meeting was posted "since Thursday" on local bulletin boards. The city's monthly legal ad of regular meetings said no Airport Advisory Board meeting would be held.
Neither of the local newspapers was faxed notice of this special meeting, which is the city's usual practice. Neither newspaper was in attendance, according to Mayor John Mulcahy.Read more
Public Notice promotion
Thanks to Maria Lopez Garcia and the Rio Grande SUN we have new promotional ads letting the public know they now have several options to find notices: in print, the NMPA website, sunshineportlanm.com and now newmexico.gov. The state websites do not upload our content, they only provide a link to the existing website. Please run the ads as space permits. Not only does it let the public know where to find these notices, it will also be instrumental in the upcoming legislative session to make legislators aware of how the newspaper industry has made these notices accessible and a clear message to any outside interests that have thoughts of creating new public notice websites that newspapers already have that covered. No other medium can deliver public notices to the public in print and online like newspapers can. Session begins January 17th thank you for helping to spread the message. Find the ads online at NMPA Public Notice Ads.
There are a series of upcoming webinar training sessions offered through Inland Press. NMPA members are afforded special member prices through co-sponsorship of these convient training sessions. Please take a look at the upcoming topics on the left hand side of this newsletter. Clicking on the title will bring you to the registration page and provide additional information.