City Hires Outside Law Firm – Secret Until Notice of Appearance

By Kathleen Sloan

HERALD Reporter

On Oct. 15, 65 plaintiffs filed a declaratory judgment against the City of Truth or Consequences in the local Seventh Judicial District Court. The case seeks to stop the city from building the solid waste collection center off of Michigan Avenue, among other goals.

On Oct. 24, Coppler Law Firm’s Gerald Coppler and John Appel filed their notice of appearance as the city’s legal representatives.

According to City Ordinance 2-142, “The Attorney (city’s) shall prosecute or defend any and all suits or actions at law or equity to which the city may be a party.”

City Manager Juan Fuentes did not answer by The Herald’s press deadline how the city could thus hire an outside law firm in violation of that ordinance. He also did not answer at what open meeting the firm was hired. City commissioners can only take action in open session according to the Open Meetings Act.

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