Tuesday, September 22, 2009

City Councilor Rey Garduño's "Sunshine Bill" Delayed By Three Councilors

Albuquerque, NM – At last night’s City Council Meeting, Councilor Rey Garduño was supported by four other councilors in pulling his “Sunshine Bill” out of the Finance and Government Operations Committee, including Councilors Brad Winter, Michael Cadigan, Debbie O'Malley, and Isaac Benton.

“When it was interfered with in Committee by external influences, I felt that I should move it out of Committee and have the discussion in front of the full Council. It speaks volumes about how we, as Elected Officials, intend to conduct the City’s business," said Councilor Garduño.

However, when he asked for it to be placed on the agenda for immediate action, Councilor Trudy Jones asked for a Fiscal Impact Analysis be done first. The request needs to have signatures from three Councilors. Councilors Ken Sanchez and Don Harris also signed the request. Councilors Sanchez and Harris also tried delaying the bill in Committee.

“I am concerned that this ‘Sunshine Bill’ is being impeded by setting up straw men in the guise of a financial impact analysis," said Garduño. "The information and reports to be made available to the public through this bill should already be at city staff's fingertips--if its not we have a problem."

"There should be minimal if any fiscal impact to the city to place this information on the website," Garduño continued. "It is one thing to champion transparent and accountable government, but it’s another to make it an actual reality."

When the Fiscal Impact Analysis was requested it automatically gives the bill a deferral to the next scheduled Council Meeting. The next scheduled Council Meeting is Wednesday, October 7th. The meeting was moved from Monday to Wednesday due to the Municipal Election on October 6th.

Councilor Garduño introduced the Sunshine Bill to call for the City to be more open and transparent when it comes to the taxpayer’s money. The bill directs the City to post valuable information on the City’s website about six key areas: A list of all City contracts; a list of existing IRB’s, TIDD’s, and PID’s; a report of all Capital Outlay projects; a list of all City employees that are currently receiving a pension from PERA; the Quarterly Budget to Actual Expense Report for all operating funds; and an online form to make public records requests.

"This ‘Sunshine Bill’ speaks to the very heart of what taxpayers have been asking for. All of us, as residents of the City of Albuquerque, deserve to know how our money is being spent,” Garduño said.

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