Emergency Petition for Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Bernalillo County: Delay Requested on Paid Time Off Mandate, Public Records Still in Question

(Albuquerque, NM) – “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” This brief but powerful message appears on the masthead of one of America’s leading newspapers, The Washington Post.

“Unfortunately,” says Rio Grande Foundation president Paul Gessing, “Bernalillo County is attempting to keep citizens in the dark about who is behind the proposed ordinance and what citizens have said to their commissioners about the ordinance (such as whether they support or oppose it and in what numbers).”

Because true representative democracy cannot survive without an informed electorate, the Rio Grande Foundation has filed a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in New Mexico District Court under New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) demanding that the County Commission not vote on the paid time off mandate until it provides public records relating to the County’s proposed “Mandatory Paid Leave” ordinance.

This request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction comes on the heels of the Foundation’s initial lawsuit against the County for withholding public records directly relevant to the debate over the proposed mandatory paid leave ordinance which could be voted on as early as August 20, 2019.

Foundation president Paul Gessing had the following to say about the injunction, “From day one the debate over mandatory paid leave/sick leave has been driven by outside groups that want to push the proposals through local government with as little debate or discussion as possible. Local voters have a right to know who is pushing the County on this issue and what opponents and supporters are saying and in what numbers. This information should be made available long before the final vote is taken by the Commission.”

The Rio Grande Foundation continues to fight for transparency, openness, and accountability in government on this critical issue.