Created: March 18, 2020 06:12 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—The Albuquerque city council voted Monday to grant Mayor Keller emergency powers to help curb the COVID-19 outbreak, but a policy group said the city passed the ordinance illegally.
Officials with the Rio Grande Foundation said city councilors may have violated open meeting laws when they passed the legislation. The city limited meeting attendance to city councilors and critical councilor administrative staff in order to follow the governor’s declaration that banned large public gatherings.
“These are the times for which accountability and laws to hold government accountable are the most critical and I'm not saying this was a huge power grab—that's not what I am really getting at here,” said Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation. “But we have to be careful and we have to do things under the law as it stands."
The attorney general released new guidelines Tuesday about how to conduct public meetings during this time of social distancing. Those guidelines suggest making meetings available with video streaming. The Monday city council meeting was streamed live online.
KOB 4 reached out to City Council President Pat Davis for comment on the lawsuit, but Davis said he could not comment on pending litigation.
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