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Consultants Recommend NM Legislators Hire Staff

The Roundhouse
S. Baxter Clinton
The Roundhouse

For many years the unpaid New Mexico State Legislature has been looking at ways to professionalize how things are done at Roundhouse. This week the Legislative Council heard a presentation from a consulting firm that hiring paid staff members could be a step in the right direction.

The report from The Focus Group suggested three possible options but recommended a hybrid approach to hire 56 full-time employees distributed around the state in 12 regional offices and three policy staff members in Santa Fe.

But Focus Group Principal Patrick Woods told lawmakers it would be up to them as to how it should all be arranged.

“How much support does a legislator need? Secondly, location, central, in a regional office. Thirdly, should that staff be potentially partisan or nonpartisan?” he said. “What are the governance and job duties look like for the staff once employed? In other words, what does the chain of reporting look like? Where do the job duties begin and end for a given staff member for a given model?”        

Woods says they surveyed legislators and many said they would like to see some staff hired.

The presentation was part of a larger push to modernize the legislature. There has been consideration of paying legislators and expanding the legislative session as ways to improve the actions at Roundhouse to better serve New Mexico. 

No action was taken on the recommendations.