AG sides with FOG — PERA Board violated Open Meetings Act

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office has sided with the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government determining the PERA Board of Trustees violated the Open Meetings Act at their meeting on May 29. The determination was outlined in a letter the Attorney General’s office sent a letter to the PERA Board of Trustees on Friday.

FOG filed the complaint against the retirement board earlier this week stating the board took action on an item that was not listed on their meeting agenda – a clear violation of OMA.

On Thursday, the attorney for the PERA Board of Trustees admitted the error in a letter sent he sent to the Attorney General acknowledging the statutory noncompliance.

The Attorney General’s letter to the PERA Board of Trustees states, “FOG alleges that the Board violated OMA at its May 29, 2020 meeting by taking action on an item not listed on the meeting agenda. In relevant part, the agenda for the meeting in question contained the action item for ‘Termination of withholding of RPENM membership dues from PERA retirement benefits.’ It is undisputed that, upon reaching this item of business, the Board voted to not only terminate the withholding of RPENM membership dues, but also to terminate the withholding of AFSCME membership dues despite the fact that this was not listed on the agenda.

“FOG argues that this represented a violation of OMA. The Board, in its response to FOG’s complaint, admitted that ‘the action with regards to AFSCME was not on the meeting agenda, and that the Board’s action as it relates to AFSCME dues is therefore void under the Open Meetings Act.’

“We are issuing this determination to you in the interest of clearly setting out OMA’s requirements and ensuring that the Board takes sufficient remedial action.”