The first two commissioners to the fledgling ethics commission have been named: Santa Fe Attorney Stuart Bluestone; and Frances Williams of Las Cruces. (The law enabling the commission goes into effect July 1, 2019.)
Bluestone, appointed by House Speaker Brian Egolf, is a former Chief Deputy Attorney General and Chief Counsel to then-Attorney General and now-Senator Tom Udall. Williams, appointed by Senate Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, was an equal opportunity manager at White Sands Missile Range, with further experience as the chairperson for the Las Cruces Review Board for Grievances and Discrimination Complaints.
The 72 -year old Bluestone and the 90-year old Williams were interviewed by the press upon appointment. Bluestone, who advocated for a transparent commission alongside NMEW staff and board, hopes that the commission is fair and balanced and helps to educate people. “It’s really important to help show the public that the leadership in this state cares about ethics issues and has a one-stop shop available for people to ask questions and get guidance,” he said in an interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican.
Williams, in contrast, has publicly stated that much of what are now public commission proceedings under the new laws should be private. “Until it’s proven, it should not be a matter of public issue,” she said in an interview with the Santa Fe New Mexican. “… We’re messing with peoples’ lives.”
NMEW and fellow advocacy groups, alongside legislators, advocated for a fair amount of transparency in the commission’s proceedings, to provide maximum public trust in the process. (In fact, NMEW advocated for transparency from the filing of a complaint.) Rest assured that future attempts to dilute the current level of transparency will be met with a staunch defense of the current law, on behalf of the public.
First members named to New Mexico ethics commission, Santa Fe New Mexican
White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame, Frances Williams