The University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) Board of Trustees put into practice this week an important opinion released by the Office of the New Mexico Attorney General and the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government applauds the effort.

“The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government supports UNMH’s efforts to comply with a recent Attorney General opinion requiring more sufficient information when announcing items to be discussed in closed session,” Melanie J. Majors, executive director said.

“While we are quick to point out when public bodies violate the Open Meetings Act (OMA), it is just as important for the public to know when there is voluntary compliance. We applaud UNMH’s efforts,” she added.

Majors said UNMH issued its original agenda about its upcoming Friday meeting, but the agenda was not specific about the items to be discussed in closed session. Instead, the items were summarized as “discussion of personnel matters.”

In the updated agenda, UNMH changed the agenda to read, “Discussion of limited personnel matters pursuant to Section 10-15-1.H (2), NMSA pertaining to the appointment and reappointment of medical providers to the medical staff of UNM Hospital and expansion of medical staff privileges for certain UNM Hospital medical staff providers, including the discussion of matters deemed confidential under the New Mexico Review Organization Immunity Act, Sections 41-9-1E(7) and 41-9-5, NMSA” as to the following…” It continued and listed all of the names of those who would be discussed in the closed session and that the final vote would be taken in public.

She said earlier this month the AG’s office sent the university a letter about a Board of Regents’ meeting in which the AG said the public notice failed “to list items on its agenda with reasonable specificity.” His opinion cited the Open Meetings Act and that “all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those officers and employees who represent them. Section 10-15-1.

As an advocate for transparency in government, NMFOG’s mission is to defend the public’s right to know and to educate citizens and government agencies about their rights and responsibilities under New Mexico’s open-meetings and open-records laws. Founded in 1990, NMFOG is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, member-supported organization that serves the open government interests of the general public, the business community, elected officials, journalists and lawyers.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding IPRA or the OMA, you can contact the Hotline at 1-505-764-3750.