Clovis city officials are welcome to develop their opinions and share them with others. However, when they suggest their individual viewpoints represent those of our entire city without even asking us, we and all taxpayers should object.
Commissioner Randy Crowder said he and City Manager Joe Thomas sent an email to city commissioners asking their blessing for a letter opposing a gun-control bill.
Since none of the commissioners replied with an objection to the idea of writing such a letter on city stationery, Crowder made it happen.
Commissioners Robert Sandoval, Dan Stoddard and Mayor David Lansford joined Crowder and Thomas in signing the letter, which was sent to state lawmakers. Commissioner Juan Garza allowed his name to be included as a supporter, though he was out of town and unable to sign it.
We see three big problems with the way this played out:
n Half of the City Commission members did not endorse the letter, which failed to mention their positions on the issue.
n The issue was never discussed in a public forum. Commissioners cannot say whether their constituents approve of the position taken on residents’ behalf.
n The email communication thumbs its nose at the state’s Open Meetings Act, which exists to ensure transparency in government. How can a community know what its government is doing when business is conducted via email between commissioners?
The matter implies an arrogance, intended or not, by Crowder, Garza, Lansford, Sandoval, Stoddard and Thomas. Such secret activity begs the question: What else have they done that the public does not know about — yet?
In an attempt to find that out, last week the Clovis News Journal filed a public records request seeking all email communications between city commissioners since Jan. 1.
Assuming the commission has nothing to hide, we expect to see those email exchanges in the next few weeks. We will report the most significant findings, particularly if there were any other questionable actions taken without public knowledge.
We don’t doubt that the majority of Clovis residents have concerns about any government attempts at gun control. We share them.
But before our elected and appointed representatives write any more letters expressing our collective viewpoint, we’d like to know about it and we’d like the opportunity to actually tell them what we think.