On Friday, an article on the District 46 race at NMpolitics.net included a discussion with the Director of the UNM Center for Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy pointing out that Santa Fe mayor David Coss' intention to hold two elected offices at the same time is "fundamentally problematic" and "not fair."
The excerpt is below (our emphasis added),
Would dual roles be complementary or problematic?
Coss said he views the dual roles of mayor and representative as complementary. If the Legislature considers the issue of gross receipts taxes and the amount local governments have to contribute, Coss knows the issue well since he is intimate with Santa Fe's city budget and understands the effects of state decisions.
The jobs might complement each other, but if there's a conflict, there is an issue of ethical representation, said UNM Political Science Professor Lonna Atkeson. Atkeson is the director of Center for the Study of Voting, Elections and Democracy.
"How do you balance the needs of the state over the needs of your city and your residents?" Atkeson questioned. "I don't see how you can balance that. I think it overwhelms any complementary perspective."
Atkeson isn't sure how voters will perceive Coss' interest in being a legislator and mayor, and it may be a bigger issue for people outside of House District 46.
"What if I use my mayoral office to benefit my district, leveraging one branch of government to benefit my self-interest in another political arena?" Atkeson asked. "You might look at it as a plus, but it's not fair to other constituents that don't have that power. It's fundamentally problematic because your institutional powers are crossing different branches of government."
What do you think?