Growth committee solidifies procedures

By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers

A fledgling eastern New Mexico committee that deals with growth issues related to the new mission at Cannon Air Force Base solidified its operational procedures Wednesday.

New Cannon tenants, the Air Force Special Operations 16th Wing, assume ownership of Cannon in October 2007.

In anticipation, the Local Growth Management Committee officially defined its mission, approved bylaws and passed a resolution that allows its subcommittee to meet privately.

“I think we’ve made great strides, big progress today” Committee Chairman and Clovis Mayor David Lansford said.

The mission statement adopted Wednesday reads, “It is imperative that the governmental entities in eastern New Mexico begin planning for expected growth.”

Six areas in need of attention are identified in the statement: education; infrastructure; community services; health care; child, adult and special needs care; and housing.

Bylaws that govern the committee and its subcommittee — an advisory panel of community volunteers — dictate when the entities will meet, their budget process and their fiscal agent (the City of Clovis).

Both entities must have wide approval from members to pass motions, according to bylaws adopted Wednesday.

Six committee members constitute a quorum, and five affirmative votes are needed to approve any action, according to bylaws. Six subcommittee members also constitute a quorum, but all six members must agree on actions, bylaws dictate.

“It’s about trying to maintain consensus, rather than division,” Lansford said.

Actions supported by the committee, which is comprised of government officials from Curry and Roosevelt counties, Clovis and Portales,“ affect such a wide range of people, it’s important to have a consensus,” committee member Robert De Los Santos said.

Also adopted Wednesday were bylaws that give the subcommittee the freedom to bar the public from meetings.

Since the subcommittee is serving as an advisory panel, it is not subject to the New Mexico Open Meetings Act. As an entity with the power to take action, the committee is subject to it, and must advise the public of meetings and allow public access.

The subcommittee will work closely with federal officials and may be privy to classified information, committee members reasoned, and therefore, should be able to meet away from the public.

An ethics and disclosure clause has also been adopted that advises subcommittee members to abstain from voting on issues in which they have conflicts of interest.

The committee hopes to erect its subcommittee sometime in January, Lansford said.
Nine community members have volunteered to serve on the subcommittee thus far, and officials said they will accept applications until the end of the year.

Officials are looking for volunteers who are skilled in the growth areas in their mission statement.