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Jemez Co-op Trustee 'Sick and Tired' of Leaks to Newspaper

From the 2019 Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Elections series
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Jemez trustee leaks Naranjo Marquez

Typically, the Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees enter into a private, executive session meeting closed to the public, but the session was canceled at the request of Vice President Leo Marquez (right). He used the executive session time to publicly criticize unnamed Board members for discussing topics and votes made in executive session with the public and media.

 

Jemez Mountains Electric Cooperative Board of Trustees Vice President and District 6 Trustee Leo Marquez said he is “sick and tired” of having information from the private executive session meetings leaked to the public.

Marquez made the remarks during the April 24 monthly Board of Trustees meeting. When the meeting began, Marquez asked for the scheduled executive session to be canceled so he could instead discuss the issue in public.

He said he was tired of information from the executive session meetings being published in the Rio Grande SUN.

“My frustration is that if we are going to be a Board we should act like a Board,” he said during a Monday telephone interview. “And what we discuss in executive session should remain in executive session.”

During the April 24 meeting, Marquez specifically pointed to an article regarding a vote by the trustees on whether or not to allow a set of proposed bylaw changes from appearing on the ballot in an upcoming election.

“It is a half-page story,” Marquez said. “It is a half-watered-down story that makes the majority look like idiots and then the rest of the committee look like heroes.”

The article quoted Board President and District 5 Trustee Nick Naranjo on how each trustee voted. Naranjo refused to provide any additional details about why he and the other trustees voted as they did.

The move to put the proposed changes on the ballot was rejected in a six to four vote, with one person absent from the meeting.

While Marquez said he is against the leaks, he said he also understands people want information about decisions being made in these private meetings.

“If we (sic) got problems at the Co-op when we are doing things at the Co-op, let’s discuss it out in the open,” he said.

Marquez said that the articles are watered down because they do not explain why the votes occur the way they did.

For example, he said, he could not vote for the proposed bylaw changes because he disagreed with the time period member-owners would have to return their ballots.

It is difficult to get answers about the Co-op and it was made more difficult after trustees passed a policy in 2018 that governs Co-op communication with the public.

The policy regulates who from the Co-op can speak to and answer questions from the media, consumers, member-owners and anyone else from the public.

Only the general manager and the Board president are allowed to respond to public inquiries, the Communications Policy states.

Other Co-op employees and trustees are allowed to speak to the public, but must first receive permission from the full Board or the executive committee.

District 1 Trustee Dennis Trujillo said Marquez had a good point, but that everyone has to have the opportunity to get the same information.

“We somehow (have to) set up a venue that we are informed, we are getting the same information and that we follow the process to deal with these issues,” he said.

When Marquez made his comments during the April 24 meeting, District 2 Trustee Dolores McCoy said she never leaked information from the meetings. Marquez said he was not accusing anyone specific.

General Manager Donna Montoya-Trujillo said that they would not be allowed to use specific names or personal information as protected in the Co-op’s personnel policy during this discussion.

Enjoy reading the SUN online? Then you'll love the print version. This is just one of the 25 local news, opinion, arts and sports stories published in the May 2, 2019 edition. To see the rest, buy a copy from one of our vendors on the street or at one of these locations.

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