Two members of the Village Council have complained to the mayor that their requests were not honored when they asked for topics to be added to the agenda for the next council meeting. Those topics involved a discussion about animal control operations, including a possible Corrales animal shelter, and initiating a revision of the Corrales Comprehensive Plan. At issue is whether a mayor or Village Administrator is obligated to place a topic on the agenda for the requested council meeting.
It’s a long-running controversy that involves a separation of powers, political courtesy and control over local government. In previous years, councillors and mayors almost came to blows over the latter’s refusal to allow discussion or votes on certain topics.
In the most recent dispute, Mayor Jo Anne Roake has suggested that requested topics for the council’s attention are best deferred until after the March 1 municipal election which will seat a new mayor and possible half of the council.
After the February 22 council meeting, Councillor Stuart Murray rebuked the mayor and Village Administrator Ron Curry for not addressing his recommendation that proposed land use regulations not be passed into law before the community’s Comprehensive Plan is reviewed and revised.
As he explained in a February 24 email to Corrales Comment, Murray wrote “I do not have anything in writing from the mayor about getting anything on the agenda. However, if you look back through all the Zoom council meetings at the end, council makes suggestions for future agenda items, and we might get one or two depending on how the mayor feels about the topic.
“It seems a lot of topics get ignored or kicked down the road. Councillor Bill Woldman’s Animal Services discussion was one.”
Murray said that N.M. Municipal League Director Randy Van Vleck had explained that a mayor has the authority to determine what goes into the agenda. “But Village ordinance is clear the Village Clerk is the one to create the agenda,” he added. “It does not specify anyone specifically as in charge. But of course, I am sure the Village Clerk gets direction from the mayor and administrator. It just seem council suggestions are ignored unless they are determined by ordinance submission.
“I have submitted a proposed amendment to [Village Attorney] Randy Autio and the administration to modify the agenda language in Section 2-60(e). It is not a huge change other than allowing the administration or any member of the Governing Body to submit documents for the next agenda inclusion.
“I have asked since I joined council, we needed to revise the Comprehensive Plan first before we did Chapter 18 [revisions]. I was ignored. As I said at the February 22 meeting, we have the cart before the horse with the Chapter 18 rewrite. I am worried we are opening the Village to higher densities and other unintended consequences. The Chapter 18 hasn’t been as transparent or inclusive as suggested.”
Councillor Woldman complained at that meeting that he had specifically requested at the February 8 session that the animal services topic be placed on the February 22 agenda. When he insisted that councillors should be able to get things on meeting agendas, he was supported by Woldman.
Mayor Roake did not specifically reject those requests but explained that some topics might be addressed better under a new administration. In an email to Corrales Comment, she wrote “Every legislator or community group 9e.g. Village in the Village or Friends of Corrales Library) can request an item be included, and those items will appear on a future agenda. The date for inclusion may be affected by other factors, as for example, an already length agenda.
“With so little time left, the Village is also offering the option of waiting until the new adminstration is installed.”
Village Administrator Ron Curry said another reason for not putting the animal services topic on the February 22 agenda was that research is needed. “Everybody wants the best for Corrales’ animals,” he said. “but that requires research into what is happening now and what the alternatives are. There is still a lot of information needed.”