To dispute the application of state statutes in the city, commissioners will have to determine if the statute is a general law and if it denies the city’s Home Rule power, according to City Attorney David Richards.
Home Rule allows municipalities to govern independently from state statues. The city of Clovis adopted a charter granting the commission Home Rule power after a 1971 special election, according to Richards.
There are more than five New Mexico cities with the power, Richards said.
Richards gave members of the commission a tutorial on Home Rule powers as well as city statutes that govern commissioners.
The retreat was a “continuing education” opportunity arranged by Commissioner and Mayor Pro Tem Randy Crowder.
“I thought it would really benefit the commission,” he said.
Commissioners Juan Garza, Len Vohs, Chris Bryant and Ron Edwards attended the retreat. City Manager Joe Thomas and City Clerk Leighann Melancon also attended.
Commissioner Fred Van Soelen did not attend the meeting due to a new baby in the family, Isidro Garcia was not feeling well and Mayor Gayla Brumfield was out of town. Commissioner Robert Sandoval declined to say why he did not attend, but said he would have attended a weekday meeting.
Previous issues regarding Home Rule and state statutes were disputed at the New Mexico Supreme Court, according to Richards.
Edwards said commissioners receive a packet with the same information when they get elected.
“It’s up for us to decipher those things,” he said.
Edwards said the lecture on Home Rules helped him understand the power better than figuring it out himself.
“I think it’s great every time you can learn to do your job better. I wouldn’t have missed this opportunity,” he said.