It’s Good To Be On The King’s Payroll Unless You’re An Overworked Beat Cop

The City has approximately 4,800 to 5,000 full time city employees.

The City of Albuquerque released on the City website the list of the 250 top wage earners at Albuquerque’s City Hall in 2016.


What some of these people are being paid is a real eye opener.

The pay figures do not include take home vehicles, reimbursements, such as mileage and tuition, and vacation and sick leave payouts at retirement or resignation.

In 2016, Mayor Richard Berry was paid $103,854, which places him at number 142 on the list of the top 250 wage earners.

The Mayor is also given a car, a $50,000 discretionary fund and a security detail.

In 2018, the Mayor’s salary will be increased to $125,000 a year as determined by the City’s Salary Commission established for elected officials.


Top paid wage earners in order of their pay are the following:

Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry: $189,936 (#1 highest paid employee)
APD Chief Gordon Eden: $166,699 (#2 highest paid employee)
Chief Administrative Officer Michael Riordan: $152,319 (#4 highest paid employee)
City Attorney Jessica Hernandez: $150,217 (#5 highest paid employee)
Fire Chief David W. Downey: $138,993 (#11 highest paid employee)
Deputy Fire Chief Eric Garcia: $133,872 (#13 highest paid employee)
APD Assistant Chief Robert Huntsman: $132,435 (#14 highest paid employee)
Deputy Director of Municipal Development Gregory Smith: $126,623 (#17 highest paid employee)
Deputy Fire Chief Michael Silvera: $125,603 (#19 highest paid employee)
Deputy Fire Chief II/Commander Joshua McDonald: $124,374 (#21 highest paid employee)
Mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano: $124,345 (#22 highest paid employee)
John Soladay, Director, Solid Waste Department: $115,227
Barbara Taylor, Director, Parks and Recreation Department: $114,136
Mary Leonard, Director, Environmental Health Department: $112,230
Dana Feldman, Director, Cultural Services: $110,020
Susan Lubar, Director, Planning Department: $110,020
Mary L. Scott, Director, Human Resources Department: $110,020
Jorja Armijo-Brasher, Senior Affairs Department: $106,441
APD Deputy Chief Jessica Tyler (APD Academy Director): $105,514
Gary Oppendahl, Economic Development Director: $105,510
Bruce Rizieri, Transit Director: $105,202
James Hindi, Director of Aviation (airport): $104,340
Doug Chapman, Director of Family Community Services: $102,260
Natali Y. Howard, City Clerk: $101,942
Lou Hoffman, Director of Finance Department: $99,732
Cilia Aglialoro, City Treasurer: $98,579
Paul Caster, Director of Animal Welfare Department: $98,019

Most if not all of the above identified city employees are being paid thousands more than their predecessors in the previous administration.

Two years ago, Mayor Berry gave Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry a $40,000 pay increase.

Over the last few years, Mayor Berry also gave 10% to 15% pay increases to APD Chief Gordon Eden, Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez and Chief of Staff Gilbert Montano.

What these top City officials receive in pay increases exposes their own greed when you realize they expected the average city workers to be paid virtually no pay increases the first term of the Berry Administration and expected city employees to be satisfied with 2.5% to 3.5 % pay increases during Berry’s second term.

The Berry Administration unilaterally refused for over 5 years to pay police wage increases negotiated in good faith.


Chief Eden is paid $166,699, Assistant Chief Huntsman is paid $132,435, and APD Deputy Chief’s are paid $115,000.

The Albuquerque Police Department employs 850 full time sworn police officers, but only 436 are assigned to field services patrolling Albuquerque’s streets and handling 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year.

Actual annual earnings for police officers can be higher than base salary due to the inclusion of overtime earnings, sick leave sell back, longevity pay, shift differential, incentive pays, and other “special pays” such as time and a half paid in overtime paid for court appearances.

During the last 7 years, the Albuquerque Police Department has consistently gone over its overtime budget, sometimes by millions, arguably to the detriment of other city departments and other city employees.

A total of 124 of the 250 top wage earners at city hall are employed by the Albuquerque Police Department and include patrol officers, sergeants, lieutenants, commanders and deputy chiefs, assistant chief and the chief with annual pay ranging from $95,000 a year up to $166,699 a year.

The average and normal yearly salary paid APD Police Officers First Class is $56,000 a year.

Five (5) APD Patrol Officers First Class are listed in the top 250 city wage workers as being paid $146,971, $145,180, $140,243, $137,817 and $125,061 respectfully making them the 6th, the 7th, the 10th, the 12th and the 20th highest paid employees at city hall.

There are listed 66 Patrol Officers First Class in the list of the top 250 wage earners at city hall earning in excess of $95,000 a year and as much as $146,000 a year.

The normal yearly salary paid and APD Police Sergeant is $64,000.

There are 25 APD Police Sergeants in the list of the top 250 wage earners at city hall earning in excess of $95,000 a year and as much as $121,884 a year.

Combined, there are a total of 91 APD sworn police officers and sergeants who are named in the top 250 wage earners and city hall.

The fact that any APD Patrolman First Class or Sergeant is paid as much as between $95,000 to $146,000, or two to three times their normal salary, in any given year should be very concerning because it is a red flag for trouble, reflects excessive overtime and mismanagement of police resources or at the very least lack of personnel.

Consecutive shifts or excessive overtime for any police officer can lead to extreme fatigue, emotional burnout and reduce an officer’s alertness and response times and reflexes that can endanger lives and public safety.

The fact that there are 91 Patrol Officers and sergeants listed in the top 250 paid City employees also reflects how poorly staffed APD really is forcing overtime overruns which could endanger the public safety by increasing the likelihood of on the job injuries and accidents or mistakes in handling service calls.


The number of APD sworn officers has fallen from 1,100 in 2009 to 850 in 2016.

Only 430 sworn officers are assigned to field services responding to 69,000 priority one 911 emergency calls a year which is probably one major reason for the excessive overtime.

Albuquerque needs 1,200 sworn police officers to effectively return to community based policing that will reduce overtime costs and reduce crime statistics.

A complete reorganization and change of management at APD is in order to get more police officers patrolling our streets.

An aggressive hiring and recruitment program needs to be initiated to increase the ranks of patrol officers.

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Pete Dinelli was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is of Italian and Hispanic descent. He is a 1970 graduate of Del Norte High School, a 1974 graduate of Eastern New Mexico University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and a 1977 graduate of St. Mary's School of Law, San Antonio, Texas. Pete has a 40 year history of community involvement and service as an elected and appointed official and as a practicing attorney in Albuquerque. Pete and his wife Betty Case Dinelli have been married since 1984 and they have two adult sons, Mark, who is an attorney and George, who is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Pete has been a licensed New Mexico attorney since 1978. Pete has over 27 years of municipal and state government service. Pete’s service to Albuquerque has been extensive. He has been an elected Albuquerque City Councilor, serving as Vice President. He has served as a Worker’s Compensation Judge with Statewide jurisdiction. Pete has been a prosecutor for 15 years and has served as a Bernalillo County Chief Deputy District Attorney, as an Assistant Attorney General and Assistant District Attorney and as a Deputy City Attorney. For eight years, Pete was employed with the City of Albuquerque both as a Deputy City Attorney and Chief Public Safety Officer overseeing the city departments of police, fire, 911 emergency call center and the emergency operations center. While with the City of Albuquerque Legal Department, Pete served as Director of the Safe City Strike Force and Interim Director of the 911 Emergency Operations Center. Pete’s community involvement includes being a past President of the Albuquerque Kiwanis Club, past President of the Our Lady of Fatima School Board, and Board of Directors of the Albuquerque Museum Foundation.