MOUNTAINAIR, N.M. (KRQE) – One resident in Mountainair, New Mexico is fed up with local government to the point he refused to leave a town meeting and he was even dragged out by police.
Ron Embree said he’s not the only resident in town who believes the council isn’t following the law when it comes to public meetings and to previous incidents that involved the town’s police chief.
“The way they conduct meetings, whether they go into executive session without telling us, what they’re talking about or granting us the right to speak,” Embree said.
Embree said the issues stem a lot further than Monday’s meeting. He said last year the police chief and his wife, Barbara Chung, who’s on the town council, crashed into Mountainair’s animal shelter causing nearly $4,000 in damage. Embree believes the mayor covered for the police chief and said he wants the facts.
New Mexico State Police filed a charge against Chung for failure to give immediate notice of the accident that occurred January 3. But Embree said there’s more to the story than reporting the accident a day late.
The mayor insists he did nothing wrong.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t think about calling the police that day,” Mayor Chester Riley said.
According to Riley, Chung’s insurance paid for most of the damage, and Chung and his wife wrote the city a check for the balance.
“We’re not here to cause trouble and we’re not here to sweep something under the table,” Riley said. “Everything we’ve done is upfront.”
At Monday night’s meeting, Embree said he asked the mayor what the council would be discussing in executive session and that’s when everything erupted.
“I think I hit a nerve,” Embree said.
The council said it drafted a letter to the state’s attorney general regarding false allegations, members said, Embree and other residents in town have started.