Recently the Los Alamos County Council had several closed sessions regarding the three finalists to replace retired County Manager, Harry Burgess.
The published Council agenda packet for July 13th, 2021 lists a candidate on the contract for county manager. At that meeting council will be discussing the contract but, presumably, not discussing the selection of a candidate from among those three finalists. The motion indicates that their final selection has been made, presumably in these closed sessions.
At the end of June 2021, I filed an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) release request asking that all documents from these closed sessions be made available. As of the time of this writing, a small portion of documents was provided and I have been told that the request will not be fully completed until the end of July.
In their strategic plan, published this year, the Los Alamos County Council’s top priority was stated to be “Enhancing communication. Enhancing communication with the public to promote transparency and strengthen trust in County government.”
The placement of an official as important to our community as a County Manager would have been a perfect opportunity to promote full transparency. Ensuring that the public has an opportunity to view all of the related documents before council votes on their final selection, could be an acceptable alternative to the public being present at these sessions. In recent weeks transparency has been discussed in county meetings with regards to volunteer boards, commissions, and task forces. It is much more vital that the community have an understanding of how decisions by our top elected leadership are being made.
Council Chair Ryti has added the list of questions asked of the candidates to the July 13th agenda packet, but there is no clarity on whether the responses of the three finalists will be discussed or provided and this is part of the ongoing IPRA request. I want to thank Council Chair Ryti for responding to my inquiries so promptly and endeavoring to shine some light on this process.
If you feel that transparency in our local government is as important as Council has stated it is for them, I ask that you write to them at the provided emails and support the communication of this information to the public as well as asking that Council provide a thorough understanding of this selection process before approving the contract as it is currently found in the agenda for July 13th, 2021
County Council General Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Chair: email@example.com
By phone at: 505-663-1760