ENMU regents seek clarification on business issue

By Sarah Meyer: Freedom New Mexico

Members of the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents received clarification on conflict of interest statements during Friday’s meeting.

Board members had questioned the statements during a previous meeting, wondering whether such statements meant they would not be able to do business with the university.

Chris Holland, the university’s attorney based in Albuquerque, provided information and answered questions via phone.

Under state statutes, regents are prohibited from doing business with the university they serve, but that prohibition can be waived — if they comply with the procurement code and the state government code of conduct, Holland said.

Regents must pass a resolution indicating the type of transaction that might occur before any bids are submitted, he said.

Alva Carter, president of the board of regents, asked if the resolution would have to be passed for every situation or once a year.

Carter owns Big Valley Ford and wanted clarification as to whether a separate action would have to be taken every time he wanted to submit a bid for a vehicle.

Holland said an identical transaction would not require another waiver, but a “materially different” transaction would require another document. “Vehicles” could be considered the same type of transaction and would not require another resolution, he said.

“We need to be held accountable,” Carter said. “We don’t want to have any grayness in our transactions.”

“This declares to the public that there may be some transactions,” said Regent Pauline Ponce. “I think the intent is that board members will be transparent in transactions.”

Holland said regents who have such an interest must abstain from voting on any procurement decision, and recommended that they abstain from voting on the resolution.

ENMU President Steven Gamble noted that most transactions don’t even come before the board of regents.

The waiver or resolution also would affect Regent Chad Lydick of Lydick Engineers and Surveyors. Lydick could potentially bid on engineering services for the university.

In other action, the board of regents heard financial reports from the ENMU Foundation, from ENMU-Portales and its branches in Roswell and Ruidoso, and authorized a contract for a dental clinic addition at Roswell.