(See also May 17, 2017 Albuquerque Journal article, “Budget may eliminate police longevity pay; Amendment ties current and future incentives to revenue, Mayor’s office says”)
The Albuquerque City Council has adopted the 2017-2018 city budget and it contains a longevity pay plan for police officers where essentially bonuses are given to APD police officers with so many years of experience to stay with the department or not retire.
City Councilor Pat Davis sponsored the longevity pay budget amendment and the council voted 5-4 to give officers longevity pay of up to $13,000 a year, but only if the city meets its quarterly revenue projections.
The Davis amendment to the budget places the entire $4 million for longevity pay into a reserve fund, the city would spend $1 million a quarter on longevity pay, with payment to officers contingent on the city meeting revenue forecasts over the next 15 months.
The City’s Budget Officer Gerald Romero says “If revenues don’t pick up [then the money for the longevity pay] stays in reserves. … The way I read it, it doesn’t give us much wiggle room.”
Arguably, an APD officer could decide to stay and work with APD or not retire because of the promised longevity pay and then the City could turn around and say it has not met its revenue forecast and decide not pay the officer the promised longevity pay.
The Albuquerque Police Officers Association Union has called foul and is very critical of the plan given that there is no guarantee that the longevity pay will materialize.
Sean Willoughby, the President of the Union says “Every city police officer considering retirement needs to run because they don’t care about us. … They [councilors] don’t care about solving the problem. This is not going to get ratified [by union members]. This is a joke. They should be embarrassed even talking about it.”
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis says in responding to the police union criticism “Never has the progressive wing of the council and the mayor’s office agreed on so many sort of different strategies to deal with public safety in a comprehensive way, but the APOA [police union] has not been a good partner. You can’t do anything nice.”
Davis argues that the union should be thankful because “In the two years since I have been on the council, this will have been the third increase for raises and bonuses and longevity to keep retiring officers on the force, and it is working.”
No its not working Councilor Davis because for the last three (3) years, APD has been funded for 1,000 full time officers but has only employed about 850 full time sworn with the police academy unable to keep up with retirements.
The police union may not be “playing nice”, but you cannot blame the police union for reacting the way they did given the eight year history with the Berry Administration and the City Council.
Eight years ago, the Berry Administration abolished the longevity program that kept experienced police officers from retiring, unilaterally decided not to pay a 5% negotiated pay raise, abolished the APD take home car policy for APD, eliminated sign on bonuses and mortgage down payments for new recruits, all policy changes implemented by Chief Public Safety Officer Darren White with the Albuquerque City Council remaining silent and not voicing any objections.
When the longevity pay was abolished 8 years ago, moral within APD plummeted and the mass exodus of experienced officers began.
Pat Davis and the City Council are being disingenuous when it comes to any real commitment to bring back the longevity pay for experienced officers.
If the City Council really wants a longevity pay program they should fund it without any strings attached.
Pat Davis has not been on the City Council for two years as he proclaims but a year and six months, and he has a whole lot to learn about city finances and budgets.
Albuquerque City Councilor Pat Davis is now running for the US Congress as a progressive Democrat to replace Michell Lujan Grisham less than two (2) years into his City Council four (4) year term.
Davis proclaims to be a “progressive” but his actions and votes on the City Council for the past year and a half seem to indicate otherwise.
Pat Davis has agreed with the Berry Republican Administration and Republican City Councilors on so many other strategies and other issues you would think Davis was a conservative.
Some specifics regarding Pat Davis’s voting record:
1. Davis refused to put the ART Bus project on the ballot, voted to fund and support ART and saying there was nothing he could do.
2. When he served on a task force to overhaul our public fiancé law, Davis declined to advocate meaningful changes to our public finance laws making it easier for candidates to qualify for public finance.
3. Davis has done nothing when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms and has never challenged the APD command staff in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms.
4. Davis has never demanded the City Attorney’s office to enforce the existing Albuquerque minimum wage ordinance.
5. Davis voted for over $63 million dollars over the past two years in revenue bonds to build pickle ball courts, baseball fields and the ART bus project down Central not seeking public input and bypassing the capital improvements process (CIP) that mandates public votes.
6. Davis voted to award Taser International, a five-year, $4.4 million contract for 2,000 on-body cameras for police officers, and cloud storage despite the fact the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office is investigating the $2 million no-bid contract the city entered with Taser.
7. Davis attempted to privatize certain law enforcement functions with the hiring of a private security company that would employ 25 retired law enforcement personnel who would do field service work and reports for APD, but Davis withdrew the bill after it was reported that the no bid contract for $1 million dollars would go to co sponsor Republican City Councilor Brad Winter’s former campaign manager.
8. Davis called for the City to select and hire an “outside investigator” to investigate the allegations made by a former APD records custodian that there was erasing, altering, corrupting or tampering and withholding of evidence of police officer lapel camera video in police officer involved shooting cases. The allegations included that high ranking APD command staff and the City Attorneys office ordered the altering or withholding of lapel camera video. The allegations are criminal in nature and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has announced that there is a criminal investigation going on.
As Pat Davis campaigns for the US Congress as a progressive and talks like a progressive, he needs to be asked if once elected to congress will he vote and act like a conservative as he has done so many times during his very short tenure on the Albuquerque City Council.