The meeting was initiated with an overview from the executive committee on the process of briefing the governor and activities during the legislative process. Roles and responsibilities of the task force, New Mexico First, the Utton Center and Thornburg Foundation were discussed briefly with many questions about public engagement and specific tasks of water ambassadors. Sequencing and phasing of the recommendations with input from the task force is the next biggest task ahead.
A relined version of the final report was shown on-screen to the task force with a brief overview by the Utton Center of changes made to the report and the feedback provided thus far.
The Task Force was given time during the meeting to read through the final report. They then had a facilitated conversation in which each member was called on to provide feedback on the content of the report rather than typographical/formatting edits. The group was asked, “Does the report conceptually capture the substance of the process and the recommendations? If no, why not?” Notes were captured during the group dialogue which reflect comments and suggestions. Changes that were voted on and reached consensus approval will be included in the final report.
The areas of focus for substantive changes to the report were:
To simplify, streamline, and organize the recommendations, they were sorted into the following focus areas:
Task Force members expressed comments about the process with some noting that in-person meetings would have been better than hybrid, as virtual zoom forums present challenges to participation. Many felt the activity of the task force tracking and accounting for progress is important, as well as the maintenance of relationships through on-going discussion. The group acknowledged the importance of making a coordinated and concerted push for transformative change during this short window of opportunity when we have both strong water leadership and unprecedented levels of federal funding for water infrastructure.
The focus of the next task force meeting will be to discuss the legislative process of engagement in more detail. Feedback on the Table of Recommendations will be an iterative process and is welcomed by the executive committee. Help disseminating the final report to the public, as well as participation in advocacy at the state and local levels, would be the most urgent tasks moving forward
In the latter part of the meeting, the group gave feedback on the draft final report on the task forces’ work, prepared by the Utton Center. The focus of the next task force meeting will be to vote on the approval of changes made to the final report, and to prepare for meetings with legislators.