To Reach For The Unreachable Star

On May 24, 2018, just 18 police officer cadets graduated from the APD Police Academy that will actually go to work for APD.

These newly sworn officers will now be given on the job training with a supervisor for six months to complete their training.

Beginning January 1, 2018, APD had 878 sworn police officers and these graduates will bring APD up to the 898 level.

APD retirements are expected to be announced on July 1, 2018.

Recently, the City Council past the 2018-2019 budget that allocates funding for 1,040 full time positions.

In order to increase APD from the current 898 sworn police with the new cadets counted to 1,040 sworn by this time next year, the APD Police Academy will need to keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 144 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires.

Based on APD Academy past performance over the past 8 years, the Police Academy will not meet the goal of recruiting and hiring 140 police officers by the end of this year, let alone to 1,200 by the end of Keller’s four year term.

The 2018-2019 fiscal year budget reports the following number of cadet graduates over the last few years as follows:

Actual number of cadet graduates for fiscal year 2016-2017: 52

In 2016, APD had 90 retirements

Actual number of cadet graduates for fiscal year 2017-2018: 43

The net gain in 2017 was 2.

Approved number of cadet graduates for fiscal year 2018-2019: 80

Mid-Year number of cadet graduates for fiscal year 2018-2019: 24

Proposed number of approved cadet graduates for fiscal year 2019-2020: 100

At the beginning of 2018, APD had 878 sworn police officers.

Mayor Keller is proposing to spend $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers by implementing a hiring and recruitment program to offer incentives, pay raises and bonuses to join or return to APD in order to return to community-based policing.

The Keller Administration successfully negotiated a two-year contract with the police union providing $12.2 million dollars in hourly wage increases and longevity pay increases to new and experienced police officers which should make APD more competitive with other cities and help recruitment efforts.

A “Status Quo Projection” for Number of APD Officers was included in the APD expansion plan if the plan was not implemented

Starting Officer Count each year for the next four years without the expansion plan:

2018: 880
2019: 872
2020: 864
2021: 857

Starting Officer recruitment and lateral hires and retirements without the expansion plan:

Annual New Recruits each year for the next four years: 56 per year for a total of 224

Annual Lateral Recruits each year for the next four years: 2 per year for a total of 8

Total Annual Recruits each year for the next four years: 58 per year for a total of 232

Annual Retirements each year for the next four years: 41 per year for a total of 164

Annual Resignations each year for the next four years: 24 per year for a total of 96

Total Annual Attrition each year for the next four years: 65 per year for a total of 260

Net Loss each year for the next four years: 8 per year for a total of 32

Projected remaining Officers each year for the next 4 years without the expansion plan:

2018: 872
2019: 864
2019: 857
2020: 849

CONCLUSION

The major obstacle the Keller Administration is confronted with is the APD Academy not being able to recruit and keep up with retirements and add to grow the department.

The average number of academy graduates is usually between 35 to 40 graduates and the academy normally has only two academy classes per year for new police officers.

If APD has the same number of retirements and other departures that it had last year, the likelihood the department’s sworn officer count will actually shrink.

Retirement paperwork for police retirements need to be submitted before July 1, 2018 to allow a retiree to be eligible for cost of living adjustments (COLA) within two years and to cash out or be paid unused accumulated annual and sick leave.

APD insiders are saying moral within the Department has improved somewhat, but not enough to keep another large wave of retirements come July 1, 2018 when the new fiscal year begins.

City residents need to hope that Keller’s aggressive recruitment and expansion plan woks, but it just may be reaching for an unreachable star.

Police Union Back Handed Swipes At Keller; Wage Increase Will Not To Solve Officer Shortage

The Democratic Keller Administration and the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) police union have successfully negotiated a two-year contract that includes an hourly pay increase and increase longevity pay benefits.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1175486/police-officers-approve-new-contract-with-city.html

On May 21, 2018 rank-and-file Albuquerque police officers overwhelmingly approved by a 501 to 40 vote a new two-year contract that will give police officers $12.1 million more in pay.

UNION BACKHANDED SWIPES

In announcing the new 2-year contract with the police union, Mayor Tim Keller said:

“This agreement gets us one step closer to addressing the public safety challenges our city is facing head on. … We were at a competitive disadvantage with our neighboring cities for recruitment efforts. These compensation adjustments will level the playing field so we can attract and retain qualified officers.”

In characteristic style, the police union when announcing approval of the contract by rank and file took a back handed swipe at the city administration.

The police union said the downside to the contract is that it is a two-year deal.

The police union claimed it wanted a one-year contract because many officers “don’t trust the city to keep its word on a multi-year deal.”

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2018/05/22/Cops-Approve-Two-Year-121-million-contract

Why should the city trust the police union when it consistently criticizes any administration in office and has opposed many policy changes mandated by the Department of Justice consent decree?

It should not be forgotten that six days after Mayor Keller was sworn into office, it was the police union president that claimed the Mayor was “dishonorable” when the Mayor “apologized for a group of police officers”.

The union president claimed that the rank and file felt “discredited” by the Mayor when he gave an apology to the citizens of Albuquerque for APD’s history of excessive use of force and deadly force that bought the Department of Justice to find a “culture of aggression”.

The police union gave no credit to the six-month-old Keller Administration for the negotiated pay increases and a major change in attitude towards all the city unions.

The previous Republican administration for the past eight years had been at repeated impasse and unable to negotiate contracts with virtually all city unions, especially the fire and police unions and those impasses resulted in litigation.

Within weeks after taking office, the Keller Administration negotiated and approved an $8 million settlement with the Albuquerque Firefighter’s Union, ending a pay raise dispute that dated backs to 2011 with the previous Republican Administration.

APPROVED HOURLY PAY RATES

The approved contract provides that the pay rate for officers with zero to four years of experience will go from $28 to $29 an hour.

Under the contract, officers with 4 to 14 years of experience will be paid $30 an hour.

The new contract will also raise the pay of more senior officers to between $30 to $31.50 an hour.

Officers with 15 years of more will be paid $31.50 an hour.

The rate for sergeants will go from $32 to $35 an hour, and lieutenants pay will go up from $36.70 to $40.00 an hour.

LONGEVITY PAY INCREASES

Longevity pay increases of between $2,600 to $13,000 a year will take effect August 1, 2018 and longevity pay will also increase in the contract’s second year.

The new contract calls for officers next year to start collecting longevity pay bonuses based on their years of experience.

Starting when an officer has five years of experience, the longevity bonuses will range from $100 to $600 every pay period.

The approved longevity pay scale effective August 1, 2018 for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is as follows:

For 5 to 9 years of experience: $100 will be paid bi-weekly, or $2,600 yearly
For 10 to 14 years of experience: $150 will be paid bi-weekly, or $3,900 yearly
For 15 to 17 years of experience: $200 will be paid bi-weekly, or $5,200 yearly
For 1 to 19 years of experience: $300 will be paid bi-weekly, or $7,800 yearly
For 10 to 20 years or more: $500 will be paid bi-weekly, or $13,000 yearly

The approved longevity pay scale effective the first full pay period following July 1, 2019, and that will replace the 2018-2019 is as follows:

For 5 years of experience: $100 will be paid bi-weekly, or $2,600 yearly
For 6 years of experience: $125 will be paid bi-weekly, or $3,250 yearly
For 7 to 9 years of experience: $225 will be paid bi-weekly, or $5,800 yearly
For 10 to 12 years of experience: $300 will be paid bi-weekly, or $7,800 yearly
For 13 to 15 years o experience: $350 will be paid bi-weekly, or $9,100 yearly
For 16 to 17 years or more: $450 will be paid bi-weekly, or $11,700 yearly
For 18 or more years of experience: $600 will be paid bi-weekly, 15,600 yearly

NO PANACEA

The police union got into the act and parroted Mayor Keller when it said the pay increases and longevity pay will go a long way to help recruit experienced officers from around the country and make the city more competitive.

The increases in hourly wages and longevity pay are in no way a panacea for APD recruiting a new generation of police officers fully trained in constitutional policing practices.

The Keller Administration is proposing to spend $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures, to hire 322 sworn officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers.

For the first fiscal year of the four-year plan, the 2018-2019 approved budget provides for increasing funding from 1,000 sworn police to 1,040, which is not much of an increase.

Notwithstanding the existing funding for 1,000 sworn police, APD at the beginning of 2018 had only 878 sworn police.

If the past 8-year history with the APD Academy is any reflection of what will happen, the APD Academy will be lucky to hire and train enough cadets just to keep up with retirements.

In order to increase APD from the current 878 sworn police to 1,040 sworn by this time next year, the APD Police Academy will need to keep up with expected retirements and will have to hire at least 162 new officers either as new recruits or as lateral hires.

Based on APD Academy past performance over the 8 few years, the Police Academy will not meet the goal of recruiting and hiring 162 police officers.

APD is having significant problems filling unfilled positions and difficulty in growing the department even with APD offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for new hires.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO FAILED RECRUITMENT EFFORTS

The APD Police Academy is unable to keep up with retirement losses.

For a number of years, graduating classes have averaged 35 to 40 a class, well below the number to keep up with yearly retirements.

Recruiting a younger, new generation of sworn police officers and growing the size of the police department has become very difficult and unachievable.

The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 officers to 878 over the past eight years for any number of reasons including:

1. Extreme low morale resulting in experienced officers deciding to retire sooner than later or going to other law enforcement agencies.
2. Changes in the Public Employee Retirement Association benefits
3. Failed APD management by the previous administration
4. Poor Working conditions as a result of heavy workloads and caseloads
5. Intense scrutiny by the Department of Justice resulting in the DOJ consent decree.
6. Terminations and disciplinary actions
7. Inability to attract “lateral” transfers from other departments

APD’s poor and negative national reputation and Albuquerque’s high violent crime rates are also not conducive to attracting people who want to begin a long-term career in law enforcement in Albuquerque.

The DOJ oversight requirements and the increased dangers in being a police officer in a violent city such as Albuquerque has also had an impact on recruitment.

The overwhelming number of police academy applicants fail to get into the academy for any number of reasons including:

1. Failing to meet minimum education and entry qualifications
2. Unable to pass criminal background checks
3. Unable to make it through psychological background analysis
4. Failing the polygraph tests
5. Lying on the on the applications or failing a credit check.

Once in the police academy, many cadets are unable to meet minimum physical requirements or unable to handle the training and academic requirements to graduate from the academy.

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt that it will take years to grow the department to the 1,200-level desired to return to community-based policing.

Growing the department will take more than increasing hourly pay and longevity pay to make APD more attractive to come and join to begin a 25-year career.

Growing the department will take time, major changes in management a major financial investment for recruitment and compliance with the DOJ consent decree reforms.

Until then, the Police Union’s motto will always be “What’s in your wallet?”

An Abuse of Office By State Auditor Wayne Johnson

On December 1, 2017 Republican Governor Susana Martinez appointed Republican Bernalillo County Commissioner Wayne Johnson as the New Mexico State Auditor to replace Democrat Tim Keller who was elected Mayor of Albuquerque.

Wayne Johnson ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Albuquerque, came in fifth and did not make the run off against Tim Keller.

Wayne Johnson, who is now running for election to keep his job as State Auditor, has announced his office will do a “special audit” to look into possible “gaps” within the Second Judicial District in an effort to combat crime in the Albuquerque metro area.

https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/state-auditor-wayne-johnson-albuquerque-criminal-justice-system-audit/4920020/?cat=500

Johnson got exactly what he really wanted which was nothing more than media coverage and a front page headline in the Albuquerque Journal.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1175867/state-auditor-announces-plans-for-criminal-justice-review.htm

According to Johnson, his “special audit” focuses on seven state agencies: the District Court, Metro Court, the Albuquerque Police Department, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the Metropolitan Detention Center, the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office.

In other words, the target of Johnson’s special audit is the entire Bernalillo County criminal justice system.

In announcing the audit, Johnson said:

“As auditors, we can look at each piece of the system and how those pieces mesh together. … We can help mend the cracks that lead to horrible crimes … When judges and prosecutors don’t have all the facts because the systems aren’t communicating, criminals … fall through the cracks. The consequences are devastating for people’s lives and for the City of Albuquerque as a whole. We can do better.”

According to his office, the district attorney pursued detention in 16 percent of all felony cases filed and indicted in 2017 but judges denied those requests about half the time.

Johnson argued that those released by judges then commit other crimes and he pointed to one suspect accused of raping a 57-year-old in her home after his release on auto burglary charges.

In response to Wayne Johnson’s call for the audit, the State District Court spokesperson Sidney Hill said:

“As a trusted and good steward of public resources, the (court) will continue to act in a financially and operationally responsible and prudent manner and will cooperatively work with the Office of the State Auditor. … The Court hopes this process will clear up the Auditor’s apparent misunderstanding of the criminal justice system, which is reflected in his use of statistics and scenarios we do not believe have a basis in fact.”

Wayne Johnson should do better understanding the duties, responsibilities and functions of his office.

FUNCTIONS OF STATE AUDITORS DEPARTMENT

What is so very disappointing and typical is no one in the media challenged or questioned if Johnson has the authority or is empowered by law to do his audit that is not financial dealing with the expenditure of taxpayer money.

The New Mexico State Auditor is a statewide elected official that eligible to serve up to two four-year terms.

In accordance with the New Mexico Audit Act, §§ 12-6-1 to 12-6-14, NMSA 1978, the Office has two statutory purposes:

“(1) to ensure that the financial affairs of every agency shall be thoroughly examined and audited each year by the state auditor, personnel of the state auditor’s office designated by the state auditor or independent auditors approved by the state auditor
(2) cause the financial affairs and transactions of an agency to be audited in whole or in part. (Section 12-6-3, NMSA 1978.)”

These two statutory purposes grant the State Auditor the authority to conduct both financial and special financial audits to identify financial irregularities, waste, fraud and abuse by the government entities.

The Office of the State Auditor conducts and oversees audits of approximately 1,000 government entities, from large state agencies to small political subdivisions.

The authority of the office is to review the financial affairs of government agencies, including contracts, purchases agreements and make sure that the government agencies are not engaged in fraud, waste and abuse of government and taxpayer funds.

While the State Auditor performs mandatory audits each year of city, county and state agencies, due to the Office’s limited resources, a majority of the financial audits are conducted by independent public accounting firms (IPAs) whom partner with the Office.

The State Auditor requires the government agencies that are audited to foot the bill for the independent public auditing firms.

The State Auditor does not have any prosecutorial authority and when criminal wrong doing is found in an audit, it is turned over to the appropriate state or federal prosecuting agency.

JOHNSON CONTINUES TO VILIFY CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM

When Wayne Johnson ran for Mayor last year, his speeches and commercials took to a whole new level pandering to upset voters and to appeal to their worst fears to get votes, especially when he said he would end Albuquerque’s sanctuary city status.

His efforts as a Bernalillo County Commissioner to end the county’s immigrant sanctuary status failed miserably.

The most disturbing part of Mr. Johnsons candidacy for Mayor was his intentional promotion of ignorance of our criminal justice system, our constitutional rights of due process of law and the presumption of innocence.

Going after and complaining about elected judges for their rulings is a red flag of ignorance of our criminal justice system unless it is just plain pandering to appeal to people’s worst fears to get votes or even worse, lying to the public.

Attacking our Judicial system and judge’s rulings is a familiar tactic of President Donald Trump and is a lesson learned by Johnson to “gin up” his conservative base in Albuquerque.

Johnson has now gotten the bright and very mistaken idea that he has the authority to audit and entire criminal justice system, especially judge’s decisions to deny prosecutor’s efforts to detain people in jail pending trial.

It is so easy to ignore our U. S. Constitution when you are pandering and running for Mayor and for that matter running for State Auditor and essentially say “catch them and lock them up and throw away the key”.

It is an abuse of office and authority for any elected official to undertake functions of an office that are not in fact authorized by law.

Wayne Johnson needs to read and fully understand the state laws that outline and limit his authority as State Auditor.

Conducting an auditing of a criminal justice system process that is not financial in nature is not within his powers and authority as State Auditor and a clear abuse of power.

What is so diguusting is that Johnson will require all seven government agencies to foot the bill for the audits, that will likely cost thousands per agency, when virtually all of those agencies are cash strapped as it is.

CONCLUSION

Johnson hopes his audit of the Second Judicial District will help identify problems that negatively impact the criminal justice system.

The New Mexico State Auditor’s Office has its plate full as it is performing over 1,000 audits a year, but now Wayne Johnson wants his office to perform an audit that is not financial and more political in nature.

No doubt Wayne Johnson is really hoping the audit will help him get elected State Auditor in November.

Attorney General Hector Balderas, a former State Auditor himself, should consider writing a letter of instruction to State Auditor Wayne Johnson telling him to cease and desist with his audit of the Second Judicial District and explain to him it is not appropriate nor authorized by law.

Another option would be for Attorney General Hector Balderas to open an investigation of his own of State Auditor Wayne Johnson for abuse of authority and discretion of his office.

City Council Enacts Keller $577 Million Operating Budget

On May 21, 2018 the Albuquerque City Council unanimously approved the 2018- 2019 operating budget of $577 million in general fund appropriations.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1175154/city-council-adds-almost-1m-for-childrens-programs-to-budget.html

The general fund budget goes to fund essential services, including the police and fire departments.

When you include the city’s enterprise funds, which are standalone departments funds such as the Aviation Department and Solid Waste Department financed by revenues generated from fees charged, the total Albuquerque city budget approaches the $1 billion-dollar figure.

The 2018-2019 fiscal year begins July 1, 2018 and ends June 30, 2019.

On March 5, 2018, in anticipation of the budget being adopted, the Albuquerque City Council voted to raise the city’s gross receipts tax rate by three-eighths to deal with a projected $40 million-dollar deficit.

Without the tax increase, the budget deficit of $40 million could have only been resolved by severe budget cuts, including layoffs, furloughs and reduction or elimination of essential services.

The enacted budget contains a significant increase in spending for “public safety” and social service programs cut so drastically by the prior Republican Administration.

ENACTED BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

Public safety spending highlights of the enacted general fund budget are as follows:

*$2 million for recruiting new APD officers for the next fiscal year.

COMMENTARY:

This allocation is the beginning of the Keller administration proposed APD expansion plan. The Keller administration is proposing to spend $88 million dollars, over a four-year period, with 32 million dollars of recurring expenditures to hire 350 officers and expand APD from 878 sworn police officers to 1,200 officers by implementing a hiring and recruitment program to offer incentives, pay raises and bonuses to join or return to APD in order to return to community-based policing.

*$2.3 million for compliance with the Court Agreed To Settlement Agreement (CASA) reached between the city and the Department of Justice in November, 2014 regarding police use of excessive force and deadly use of force.

COMMENTARY:

This is an appropriation that in no way can be considered voluntary but is mandatory under the federal APD consent decree. The taxpayers first paid $1 million to hire “experts” to negotiate the consent decree, then paid $4 million for the Federal Monitor and another $2.5 million of the required training mandated, all the while the command staff for 3 years resisted the reform effort. It is anticipated the reform process will take at least another three years to implement and in all likely another $4 million.

*$1.9 million to address a backlog of more than 4,000 untested rape kits.

COMMENTARY:

The rape kit backlog was identified by Keller when he was the New Mexico State Auditor. $1.5 million will be outsourced and $383,000 will be used to hire four (4) positions at the APD crime lab which will include one (1) DNA forensic scientist, two (2) latent forensic scientists, and one (1) latent technician. It is critical that the backlog of rape kits be processed for felony prosecutions. All too often, DNA evidence and a victim’s testimony are the only evidence available to obtain a conviction for rape and child sexual abuse.

*$1.8 million for the Property Crime Reduction program.

COMMENTARY:

The “Property Crime Reduction” program is intended to address the city’s rising property crime rates, especially auto thefts. In February, 2017, FBI statistics revealed property crimes in Albuquerque increased by 13.3 percent, bucking the national trend of decreases in burglaries and larcenies. Albuquerque reported 38,528 property crimes, or 6,860 per 100,000, and 6,236 total burglaries, or 1,110 per 100,000 residents. Auto thefts in the Albuquerque jumped by the highest percentage with 7,710 motor vehicle thefts reported in 2016, an almost 50 percent increase over the year before.

$114,000 for mobile cameras for parks security.

$100,000 for contractual parks security.

SAFE CITY STRIKE FORCE

The following appropriations were approved by the City Council in an effort to reinstate the viability of the Safe City Strike Force:

$ 1.5 million in additional public safety spending was added by the city council including $125,000 for Safe City Strike Force code enforcement specialists.

$300,000 in additional funding for Safe City Strike Force board-ups and demolitions

$75,000 to begin land banking for vacant and abandoned buildings.

COMMENTARY:

The above $1.87 in appropriations is a commitment to reinstate a program that was dismantled by the previous administration. From 2002 to 2009, the Safe City Strike Force was formed to combat blighted commercial and residential properties. Thirty (30) to forty-five (40) representatives from the Albuquerque Police Department, the Albuquerque Fire Department, the Fire Marshal’s Office, the Planning Department Code residential and commercial code inspectors, Family Community Services and the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office participated comprised the strike force. In 2010, the previous administration in essence began to dismantled and reduce funding for the Safe City Strike Force. In 2018, the Safe City Strike Force has one employee, its director, and the Safe City Strike Force exists in name only. The $300,000 for board ups of blighted properties is a good start, but significantly more will be needed to address the approximate 3,000 substandard properties throughout Albuquerque. For the past eight (8) years, little or next to nothing was done by the City of Albuquerque to address blighted and substandard commercial and residential properties.

YOUTH PROGRAMS

Albuquerque city councilors approved a $1 million budget amendment for children’s programs.

The budget amendment includes funding for a middle school soccer league, after-school clubs and at-risk youth summer hires through the Family and Community Services Department
New programs through the Cultural Services and the Parks and Recreation departments have also been funded. The city’s goal is to double the participation in before-school and after-school and summer programs for children.

COMMENTARY:

Youth programs are absolutely essential to giving a much needed helping hand to our at-risk youth. “At risk youth” all too often find themselves in harm’s way, are “latch key” children who return to an empty home after school because their single parent is working or the child turns to the streets or turns to gangs to escape their home environments or turn to committing crimes and wind up in our juvenile justice system.

SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING INCREASED

Highlights to the increases in social services by the city include:

*$15 million in affordable housing contracts.

*$8.2 million in homeless services.

*$5.7 million in mental health and substance abuse contracts.

* $18.2 million for homeless and behavioral health programs.

COMMENTARY: Prior to the enactment of the gross receipts tax increase, these programs were originally projected to be cut by $2 million.

*$225,000 for Heading Home vouchers.

COMMENTARY: The “There’s Better Way” program is the program employs homeless people to do hourly work. There are approximately 3,000 homeless in the city at any given time.

COMMENTARY:

A welcomed and dramatic departure from the previous Republican Administration are the amounts and resources the Mayor requested and the City Council appropriated toward behavioral and mental health programs, drug addiction initiatives and programs for the homeless.

CONCLUSION

Review of the entire enacted city budget for fiscal year 2018-2019 reflects a clear and dramatic reflection of major changes in attitudes and priorities from the previous Republican administration.

The previous attitude of the Republican Administration for a full eight years emphasized a reduction in social services, reduction in essential services especially, acceptance of failure in public safety, reducing the size of government and opposition to any and all tax increases regardless of any and all need or justification for a tax increase.

The Keller Administration inherited a $40 million-dollar deficit and the first Keller budget fills the debt hole but was able to do so only after the City Council enacted a tax increase.

It is no surprise to many city hall observers that the Keller budget Approved by the city council for the new fiscal year contains the largest increase in city hall spending in 10 years.

The spending reflected by the adopted budget is desperately needed to turn the city around in a new direction, especially when it comes to public safety and reducing the cities out of control crime rates.

The city council adopted 2018-2019 city budget is where “the rubber hits the road” and is only the very first step with determining if Keller will be a successful Mayor.

Journal Essentially Endorses Two Democrats In Congressional Primary

The Albuquerque Journal issued its long anticipated endorsement in the Democratic primary’s First Congressional District to replace Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham who is running for Governor.

The full editorial can be read here:

https://www.abqjournal.com/1175043/journal-recommends-martine-zfor-cd1-democratic-primary.html

There are 6 Democrats running for the First Congressional District seat:

Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis
Former Democratic Party Chair Debra Haaland
Former UNM Law School Associate Dean Antonette Sedillo Lopez
Immigration and tax attorney Damian Lara
Former United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico Damon Martinez
Albuquerque businessman Paul Moya

The Albuquerque Journal endorsed Damon Martinez and then mentioned Paul Moya and totally ignored the other four candidates.

Democrats really need to sit up and take notice of the editorial endorsement by the Albuquerque Journal for not only endorsing their preferred candidate but also mentioning another qualified candidate.

The Albuquerque Journal has essentially endorsed two Democrats in the primary.

I cannot recall the Journal in a congressional race ever mentioning two Democratic candidates in the same editorial and in glowing terms no less.

Most Progressive Democrats would also say the Journal endorsement means very little to them, but there are times the Journal editors do get it right.

Both Damon Martinez and Paul Moya can take great comfort from the editorial and what was said about them.

DAMON MARTINEZ

Damon Martinez has indeed pick upped considerable momentum according to recent polls, with one poll suggesting he is now second, and the editorial did a solid summary of his impressive record of public service.

Damon Martinez is an Albuquerque native who earned a bachelor’s degree, Master of Business Administration and law degree from the University of New Mexico, and served as New Mexico’s U.S. attorney from 2014 to 2017 until he was fired by Donald Trump and has been an officer in the U.S. Armed Forces for 15 years, enlisting after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Martinez worked in Congress for former US Senator Jeff Bingaman and then former US Representative and now US Senator Tom Udall, serving as Bingaman’s legislative assistant and later as Udall’s legislative directorand for those reasons knows how the system works and would be able to hit the ground running if elected to Congress.

PAUL MOYA

Paul Moya is also a New Mexico native, he speaks fluent Spanish, and for being just 30 years old and running for the first time he is highly educated and highly accomplished in his own right.

Paul Moya has a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame, and a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Mr. Moya started his own company, Millennial Labs, a business strategy consulting firm, when he couldn’t find a job in New Mexico after graduation.

Paul Moya has made positive impression at all the forums and debates and does stand out amongst them all.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S FUTURE

Both of these men represent real progressive leadership the Democratic Party so desperately needs on a national level in the age of Donald Trump.

Both Damon Martinez and Paul Moya have demonstrated they are smart, reasonable and fully committed to Democratic core values and who will take on Donald Trump.

Both men have a bright political future, should they choose to continue pursuing elected office should either of them not prevail in the primary.

The congressional race is too close to call given the amount of money being spent so Democrats need to pay attention.

Too Much At Stake To Rush And Get Wrong

Mayor Tim Keller announced the appointment of a five-member APD Chief Selection Committee.

A national search for a permanent police chief has been underway since mid April.

To assist in the APD Chief selection process, the city hired the local firm Avtec for $10,000 to consult on both the police chief and animal welfare director hires.

The goal is to accept applications, conduct interviews, summit names to Mayor Tim Keller and have the city council vote on confirmation by mid-June.

THE APD CHIEF SELECTION COMMITTEE

The selection committee members hired and appointed are:

• HERB CROSBY, recruitment coordinator: Mr. Crosby is the President and CEO of Avtec, Inc., the management and consulting training firm that is being paid $10,000 to consult with the city. Mr. Crosby has an MBA from Pepperdine University School of Business and Management and has over 30 years of extensive training and consulting experience in the areas of civil rights, alternative dispute resolution, labor management, mediation and strategic planning facilitation for both the public and private sectors. He also teaches at the UNM School of Public Administration.

• BOB MARTINEZ, President of Fraternal Order of Police: The New Mexico Fraternal order of police is an organization of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, federal agents and probation and parole officers of the United States and is affiliated with the State Lodge and National Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. The organization strives to create better working conditions for members of the law enforcement profession by solidifying their strength and promoting their mutual welfare in the City of Albuquerque, the State of New Mexico and the Nation. Mr. Martinez has been a federal law enforcement official himself and is repected in the law enforcement community.

• JAMES LEWIS, Mayor Keller’s Senior Adviser For Public Safety: James B. Lewis is a highly respected former government official with a long history of state, county and city government service. Mr. Lewis has held many titles and won many elections and appointed to positions including Bernalillo County Treasurer, New Mexico State Treasurer, Chief of Staff to former Governor Bruce King, Chief Administrative Officer for Mayor Marty Chavez. He has also worked for President Barrack Obama at the Department of Energy and appointment to work on Mayor Keller’s transition team. Mr. Lewis has been hired by the Keller Administration on a $75,000 contract to serve as Senior Advisor for Public Safety.

• ED PEREA, private attorney: In 2016, Mr. Perea was a candidate for Bernalillo County District Attorney, running as a Democrat. He has previously served as a Special Prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and was an Adjunct Professor of Law and worked at the University of Phoenix. He spent nearly 24 years with the Albuquerque Police Department, is a former APD commanding officer and retired from APD.

• CAROL PIERCE, Mayor Keller’s Director of Family and Community Services: Ms. Pierce has thirty years of experience working in the health field in the public and private sectors. She was the Program Manager for the UNM School-Based Health Program, which provides integrated medical, behavioral and often dental services, health education and case management services at six Albuquerque Public Schools. She has provided consultation services to advance the performance of organizations through strategic conversations, quality improvement, vision and value alignment. Through her work with a wide range of government, private and nonprofit organizations and schools, qualitative analyses and assessments have been completed and strategic plans implemented to improve health outcomes. Prior to her consultation work, Ms. Pierce served as New Mexico Department of Health District One Public Health Director.

Chief of Staff and Deputy CAO Sunalei H. Stewart is providing support services to the committee.

Mr. Stewart is an attorney and work for Mayor Keller in the State Auditor’s Office.

One of biggest criticisms of the selection committee is that the committee consists exclusively of former law enforcement officials or Keller Administration employees with no one from the general public nor affected groups.

In particular, there are no representatives on the selection committee from the American Civil Liberties Union, APD Forward, any Hispanic, Native American nor other minority groups and communities affected by police actions, the District Attorney’s Office nor Public Defenders Office, nor any one from the stake holders in the federal consent decree and the mandated police reforms.

THE RUSH TO HIRE TIED TO VACATION BREAK AND BUDGET

On May 19, 2018 a “listening session” was held by APD Forward with the APD Chief Selection Committee on the selection process.

http://www.koat.com/article/the-search-is-on-for-a-new-apd-chief/20762476

APD Forward is a group comprising of several organizations involved and that advocate civilian police oversight and implementation of the Department of Justice mandated reforms.

Ed Perea was the only member of the selection committee who did not attend to listen to the public.

During the listening session, Mayor Tim Keller’s chief of staff Sonale Stewart said publicly that the APD Chief position officially opened on May 1, 2018 for applications and will close May 21, 2018, less than 3 full weeks to collect resumes and do interviews by the committee.

The Keller Administration wants to complete the selection process and have the new APD Chief confirmed by the City Council before the City Council goes on summer break in mid-June.

The Keller Administration also wants a new chief in place before the new fiscal year begins on June 1, 2018.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1174374/city-urged-to-slow-apd-police-chief-search.html

The time frame of two to six weeks to recruit, interview and select a new chief was one of the main concerns of APD Forward and the multiple citizens who spoke at the “listening session” meeting.

POLITCAL APPOINTMENT

During the last 40 years, the traditional approach for the selection of an APD Chief has always been a political appointment with the Mayor almost exclusively deciding who would be APD Chief of Police.

The overwhelming number of APD Chiefs have been appointees who have come up through the ranks of APD and have included Chiefs Bob Stover, Whitey Hanson, Sam Baca, Joe Polisar, Gill Gallegos, Ray Schultz and Allen Banks, all who I knew or worked with in some capacity or another during my legal and political career.

The two main exceptions of Chiefs not appointed from within have been Gerry Galvin and Gordon Eden.

Gerry Galvin was the former Police Chief in Cleveland, Ohio appointed by Mayor Jim Baca.

Gordon Eden was the former New Mexico Public Safety Cabinet Secretary and former US Marshal and Eden was appointed by Mayor Richard Berry.

Virtually all the Chiefs mentioned above had managerial experience with municipal police departments with the sole exception being Gordon Eden.

A so called “national search” was done when former APD Chief Gordon Eden was selected.

When Gordon Eden’s named appeared on the list of applicants and before the interviews were even done, it was a foregone conclusion by city hall insiders who was going to be selected.

Gordon Eden was appointed APD Chief despite the fact he had absolutely no prior experience managing a municipal police department and contrary to the job description.

SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT HIRE

The single most important political appointment Mayor Keller will be making is the next permanent APD Chief.

Mayor Keller needs to hire a police chief and a management team that can turn the department around and reform it.

Since 2010, an estimated $64 million has paid in legal settlements by the city in APD civil rights violation cases, excessive use of force cases and deadly force cases.

During the last 8 years, there have been 34 police officer involved killings.

In April, 2014, the United States Department of Justice completed an investigation of APD after 16 killings with the Department of Justice finding a “culture” of aggression within APD.

For the past three years, the city and APD have been under a federal consent decree mandating sweeping reforms to APD.

For the past 3 years, the DOJ consent decree reforms were resisted by APD and its command staff with little progress in implementing the reforms.

COMMENTARY

Over my forty year career as an attorney, prosecutor and judge, I have seen what a good APD Chief can accomplish and I know how incompetence and failed leadership has destroyed a once great police department.

Appointing a new interim police chief who is a retired APD commander and former Rio Rancho Police Chief understandably was necessary given the two-week time frame Mayor Keller had from his election to his swearing in.

Mayor Keller replacing the APD command staff was a good start, but still there is nothing new about the command staff itself.

The “new” command staff is a reflection of APD’s past and all have been with APD for some time.

The current command staff are not a new generation of police officer fully committed and trained in constitutional policing.

The selection committee is exclusively administration officials and former law enforcement.

A major mistake the Keller Administration has made is not appointing anyone from the general public, private sector nor affected communities or government agencies that have to work with APD and the APD Chief.

The selection of a single qualified person as Chief of Police is not going to resolve many of APD problems and the full implementation of the DOJ reforms.

APD needs not only a new permanent Chief, but 3 new Deputy Chiefs.

APD needs a complete management team from the outside to take over APD who are totally and firmly committed to and trained in constitutional policing practices as mandated by the Department of Justice consent decree and the reform process.

The selection committee needs to be expanded to include members of the general public and other stake holders to get input and be involved in the screening process of applicants.

Further, the selection committee needs to expand the application process time to substantially increase the pool of applicants and to guarantee that a national search is in fact being conducted.

There is no need to rush the selection process in six weeks.

The city council’s calendar and its summer break in no way should be rushing the process.

The selection committee should interview for the position of Chief and 3 deputy chief police positions in order to hire a management team that can take over APD.

Mayor Keller simply cannot get this one appointment wrong because too much is at stake for the city.

No Need For Charade If Fix Already In