May 3, 2016

Council defeats proposal to cut APD brass’ pay if reforms not met

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Andy Lyman

Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry with Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden and others. Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

The Albuquerque City Council killed a proposal Monday night that would have withheld raises and retention bonuses for the police department’s top brass if the city fails to comply with it settlement agreement on police reform.

Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry with Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden and others. Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

Andy Lyman

Albuquerque mayor Richard Berry with Albuquerque Police Department Chief Gorden Eden and others. Photo Credit: Andy Lyman

The proposal by Councilor Diane Gibson failed on a 6-3 vote, with opponents saying it could drive off APD’s senior commanders and that it would have been hard to implement.

“What will we do if we lose the people who are a year into this process? They are working hard and they are doing a good job,” Councilor Trudy Jones said in opposing the measure.

Councilor Ken Sanchez echoed that opinion, saying, “I’d hate to hold the upper command staff hostage.”

City Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry told councilors that bit would be difficult to actually measure compliance under the proposal. “The devil is in the details,” he said.

Voting for the bill were Gibson and fellow Democrats Isaac Benton and Patrick Davis*. Opposed to it were Democrats Ken Sanchez and Klarissa Peña, and Republicans Brad Winter, Dan Lewis, Don Harris and Jones.

APD’s top commanders get anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 a year in retention bonuses.

City Attorney Jessica Hernandez told councilors that APD now has gotten 16 of 37 policies approved by the special monitor in the settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. All 37 policies must be approved by June 5.

Gibson said APD has made progress lately in meeting the requirements of the settlement agreement, but added, “I don’t want to see this backsliding.”

*Davis is the executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, which helps find funding for NM Political Report. No one at ProgressNow New Mexico, including Davis, has any editorial say, including story selection, on this or any other story.

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