Public Resources

Resources for the public

FOG offers several free resources to New Mexico citizens. Along with the following, we have links to the New Mexico Compliance Guides for the Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA).

News laws concerning open government have been passed since the guides were last updated. Those include a new exception to IPRA which is listed below in bold with the other IPRA details:


H. Protected personal identifier information contained in public records may be redacted by a public body before inspection or copying of a record. The presence of protected personal identifier information on a record does not exempt the record from inspection. Unredacted records that contain protected personal identifier information shall not be made available on publicly accessible websites operated by or managed on behalf of a public body.

Also, a change was made to exception D which now reads:

d. portions of law enforcement records that reveal: (1) confidential sources, methods or information; or (2) before charges are filed, names, address, contact information, or protected personal identifier information as defined in this Act of individuals who are: 1) confidential sources, methods or information; or (2) before charges are filed, names, address, contact information, or protected personal identifier information is defined in this Act of individuals who are: (a) accused but not charged with a crime; or (b) victims of or non-law-enforcement witnesses to an alleged crime of: 1) assault with intent to commit a violent felony pursuant to Section 30-3-3 NMSA 1978 when the violent felony is criminal sexual penetration; 2) assault against a household member with intent to commit a violent felony pursuant to Section 30-3-14 NMSA 1978 when the violent felony is criminal sexual penetration; 3) stalking pursuant to Section 30-3A-3 NMSA 1978; 4) aggravated stalking pursuant to Section 30-3A-3.1 NMSA 1978; 5) criminal sexual penetration pursuant to Section 30-9-11 NMSA 1978; or 6) criminal sexual contact pursuant to Section 30-9-12 NMSA 1978.

The remainder of the exceptions are as follows:

“14-2-1. RIGHT TO INSPECT PUBLIC RECORDS–EXCEPTIONS.– Every person has a right to inspect public records of this state except:

A. records pertaining to physical or mental examinations and medical treatment of persons confined to an institution.

B. letters of reference concerning employment, licensing or permits;

C. letters or memoranda that are matters of opinion in personnel files or students’ cumulative files;

E. as provided by the Confidential Materials Act;

F. trade secrets, attorney-client privileged information and long-range or strategic business plans of SB 118 Page 3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 public hospitals discussed in a properly closed meeting;

G. tactical response plans or procedures prepared for or by the state or a political subdivision of the state, the publication of which could reveal specific vulnerabilities, risk assessments or tactical emergency security procedures that could be used to facilitate the planning or execution of a terrorist attack;

NMFOG’s Review of City and County Websites



The New Mexico Foundation for Open Government conducted a survey of county and municipal websites to gauge whether the public could easily find pertinent government information online. The bulk of the audit was done by Frank Cardoza, University of New Mexico law student and FOG legal intern. Mr. Cardoza examined the websites of 31 cities and 27 counties and scored them on objective criteria, including Financial Data, Accountability Data, Public Meetings Information, Public Records Information, Contact Information, Other Frequently Sought Information, and Website Functionality and Ease of Use.

As a result of the audit, FOG identified best practices and areas for improvement in public websites. The audit is intended to assist government bodies to better manage websites and to present more useful data for the public in accessible formats. Ideally, all public information online should be downloadable, searchable and sortable by the public. FOG is available to coach and guide governments needing assistance with implementing suggestions for more transparency.

Financial Information and Accountability Data

County and municipal websites that scored highest on the FOG survey made a concerted effort to provide the public with detailed financial information. While publishing an annual budget is helpful to improve accountability, a better practice is to provide additional information that shows exactly how taxpayer money is being spent.

Sites that were most effective included comprehensive departmental spending reports and even made available public bank statements and check registers with accompanying vendor lists. This approach to financial transparency allows the public to review precisely how much money is being spent for specific projects and programs. Moreover, the public can easily see how much third-party contractors are being paid for specific work. This practice promotes fairness in the contract bidding process and levels the playing field for companies wishing to do business with city or county governments.

Making financial audits conducted by third parties available on websites for public review further improves accountability. Taxpayers have a right to see the findings of any such independent analyses and inquiries, and these reports are instrumental in maintaining the public trust. Governmental entities can demonstrate a commitment to transparency and openness by proactively making public as much financial information as possible.

Public Meetings and Minutes

The majority of city and county websites reviewed performed well on providing recent meeting minutes, upcoming meeting agendas and notifying citizens of future meetings. Websites that featured interactive calendars for meeting dates and organized archival systems for agendas and minutes scored higher on the survey. These identified best practices help the public easily search for pertinent information.

One cause for concern related to meeting minutes. While many of the sites included budgets, resolutions and signed vendor contracts in the minutes of meetings, few also published this information separately in other clearly designated sections of the website. It is inconvenient for citizens to search through all recent meeting minutes to locate this important information. Government sites could be improved by developing a searchable area dedicated to budgets and contracts, which would allow for more efficient retrieval by constituents.

Public Records Information

Well-designed government webpages for public records requests should ease the burden on records custodians. FOG found that most sites provided a public records form or request section, which typically included instructions for submitting a successful written request. Governments that performed best on this category of the audit gave users more information on the availability of electronic records and provided a detailed breakdown and explanation of anticipated charges for different types of records.

Governmental bodies could add a tracking feature to websites, giving requestors the opportunity to check the status of pending requests. This would help citizens and journalists to quickly determine if their request has been received, is being reviewed or has been approved or denied. A tracking feature would also serve to free up time for custodians who must field calls from requestors seeking an update on their pending requests.

All government entities surveyed could enhance their sites by including suggested ways to reduce the charges for obtaining records. In some instances, websites were specifying and charging the maximum cost of $1.00 per page for any and all requests. Such high fees are often prohibitive for citizens and journalists alike. It could be argued that imposing maximum fees for all records sought effectively restricts access, making public records unavailable.

Contact Information and Other Frequently Sought Information

The availability of basic and commonly sought information is perhaps one of the biggest difference-makers in the FOG survey scores. The cities and counties that achieved the highest marks offered information such as tax rates, zoning data and contact information. It is helpful to provide a comprehensive list with all contact information for employees and elected officials in a separate section of the site. Additionally, the public will be able to accurately reach out to the right person if relevant contact listings are also available on individual topic pages. This will further save government employees time transferring and fielding calls from constituents needing to contact other people or departments.

Website Functionality Tools

Simple and user-friendly website designs rated highest on the FOG assessment. Inclusion of a search bar and a site index is critical for making sites functional for the public. Many government websites were not updated frequently and contained old information or inaccuracies. Keeping information up to date ensures that a website is useful and reduces confusion for site visitors. Moreover, the existence of dead links can cause frustration when citizens receive a “Page Not Found” error.


Government websites that are user-friendly, contain depth and breadth of public information and are well-managed improve transparency and ease the workload for public employees. An investment in the development of a highly functional website will allow citizens to hold governments accountable and participate in public discourse.

Individual Data Sheets

FOG released an audit of city and county websites, which evaluates whether the public can easily find important government information online. View the individual data sheets below, grouped by city and county.

Internal & External Resources

External Resources

Laws, Legislature & Courts

Government Spending & Business

New Mexico Public School Information

  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) maintains information and statistics for every public school district and many private schools in the nation. At that site you can find financial, demographic, outcomes and a host of other information with published and custom searches.

State Auditor’s Government Accountability Report

  • This report, conducted by the Office of the New Mexico State Auditor’s Government Accountability Office in September 2015, represents a good example of government transparency and serves as an effective model for other state agencies.