KUNM

State Agency "Wins" National Black Hole Award

Mar 17, 2017

A state agency won national recognition this week for its pattern of failing to provide information to the public.

The Society of Professional Journalists selected the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission as the winner of the 6th Annual Black Hole Award which highlights public agencies that display a contempt for the public’s right to know.

Independent journalist Laura Paskus, who also serves as the president of the local SPJ chapter, nominated the ISC for refusing to answer her questions, getting sued for open meetings violations and opposing legislation that would increase accountability for the commission’s spending on a proposal to divert water from the Gila River.

Melissa Dosher, spokeswoman for the ISC, didn’t respond to Paskus’ specific complaints but called them “ridiculous” in an emailed statement. She said the ISC notifies the public of meetings in advance beyond what is required by law, posts agendas online 72 hours in advance, complies with public records laws and has been “more transparent than ever before” under Governor Susana Martinez.