A panel chaired by retired state Supreme Court Justice Patricio Serna is scheduled to meet Monday, Dec. 17, to begin considering amendments to Santa Fe’s city charter.
Under a resolution approved by the City Council in April, the Charter Review Commission will be asked to review and make recommendations about term limits for elected municipal officials and other issues.
The last time Santa Fe convened a charter commission, in 2005, it resulted in voters considering and approving four amendments to Santa Fe’s election system in 2008.
The city charter, established in a special election in December 1997, calls for a charter review commission to be appointed at least every 10 years.
In addition to Serna, others named to the commission are:
• Nancy Long, an attorney who has served on various city boards and committees. Serna appointed her vice chair of the Charter Review Commission.
• Steven Farber, a lawyer and former city councilor.
• Houston Johansen, who was an unsuccessful candidate for a City Council seat in the north-side District 1 in the March city election.
• Carol Romero-Wirth, a lawyer who has been involved in civic affairs, government and politics.
• John B. Hiatt, an attorney who has held various government positions, including formerly serving as director of the city of Santa Fe Land Use Department and as a county deputy attorney, as well as various state government posts.
• Roman Abeyta, a former Santa Fe County manager who has served as director of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Fe.
• Brian P. Gutierrez, president of a recycling company in Santa Fe.
• Daniel Werwath, a former employee of the Santa Fe Community Housing Trust and a founder of the After Hours Alliance.
Santa Fe elected city officials currently are allowed to serve unlimited terms in office. The council resolution calling for establishment of the Charter Review Commission notes that the state constitution sets term limits for county commissioners. However, even if Santa Fe voters were to approve term limits for municipal officials, an amendment to the New Mexico Constitution would be needed before a city charter amendment to mandate term limits could take effect.
The resolution also states that a charter amendment question should be presented to city voters on whether city councilors who are elected in a non-mayoral election year and decide to run for mayor during their four-year council term should have to resign from the council seat, whether or not they are elected mayor.
A city news release Friday quoted Serna as saying that the Charter Review Commission “will be a model of transparency in government. The public will have full opportunity for participation. Nothing will be done in secrecy and the final arbiters of the recommended changes will be the electorate of the city of Santa Fe.”
The commission is scheduled to meet at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, in the City Council Chambers, 200 Lincoln Ave.