Who May Go, Who May Try To Stay

Who Will The Next Mayor Fire?

A new Mayor of Albuquerque will be sworn in on December 1, 2017.

Upon being sworn in, the new Mayor will have the authority to appoint over 30 Department Heads or Deputy Department Head positions who serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and can be terminated without cause anytime by the Mayor.

There are 223 full time “ungraded” positions at City Hall, who are in unclassified positions and “at-will” employees who can be terminated “without cause” and by the Mayor or the City Council.

“Ungraded employees” or exempt employees do not have the same vested rights classified employees have and have no appeal rights to the City Personnel Board for disciplinary action so when they are fired, they are in fact gone with no recourse.

It is not uncommon towards the end of any Mayor’s Administration for political appointees to begin to resign and go work somewhere else or try to get assigned to protected positions within city hall.

I suspect most of Berry’s political appointees are either updating their resumes and looking for employment elsewhere outside City Hall or trying to find classified positions at City Hall to be transferred into to keep working.

What is noteworthy is that the news media has not reported any early resignations of Berry’s top political appointees or Department Directors with only one being reported by the media as being assigned to a classified or protected position.

Those who are assigned to protected positions have a six-month probationary period and can be terminated without cause during their six-month probationary period.

It is very common for political appointees to work on the campaigns of other candidates running for Mayor and donate to candidates to curry favor to stay on and keep employed by the new elected administration.

Voters should not be at all surprised if top level political appointees for Mayor Berry are in fact working behind the scenes and donating to those currently running for Mayor and may even be meeting with the Mayoral candidates to curry favor and ask that they be kept employed in exchange for information and support at city hall.

Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry has donated $1,000 to Republican Dan Lewis for Mayor campaign.

Joanie Griffin of Griffin Associates, who is handling the public relation campaign for Berry’s ART Bus project, has made a $1,000 in-kind donation to the Tim Keller for Mayor Campaign.

Retired and former APD Commander Sonny Leeper with Law Enforcement Training International has given a $1,060 in kind contribution to Republican Wayne Johnson for Mayor.

Confidential sources have said Mayor Berry’s Director of Constituent Services and former Democrat City Councilor Alan E. Armijo and Economic Department Director Gary L. Oppedahl have met with at least one candidate for Mayor.

Confidential sources have also said former Albuquerque Police Department (APD) command staff, retired sergeants, lieutenants and commanders have met with candidates for Mayor seeking appointment as Chief of Police or seeking to be brought back in some management capacity to APD.

APD needs a new generation of leadership and a national search needs to be conducted to identify and hire a totally new APD command staff not from within the ranks of existing or former APD staff to complete the Department of Justice reforms.

Voters need to ask the candidates for Mayor who they intend to keep as Department Directors or if they will be asking for resignations.

Voters need to ask candidates for Mayor if they have promised appointed positions to anyone and who they are likely to appoint to positions such as Chief Administrate Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief of Police, Chief of the Fire Department, City Attorney, City Clerk, Cultural Services Director, Transit Director, Economic Development Director, Director of 311 and to head any one of the various other departments.

All the candidates for Mayor would be wise not to make any firm commitments or promises to anyone for jobs or to be appointed as Department Heads to give themselves complete latitude in finding the best qualified people for positions free of political pressure.

Following are thirty (30) “ungraded” or “unclassified” City Hall employees and Department Heads:

Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, paid $92.29 an hour or $191,963.20 a year.

APD Chief Gordon Eden, paid $81.00 an hour or $168,480 a year.

BIOPARK Chief Executive Officer James Allen, paid $77.48 an hour or $161,158.40 a year.

Director of Behavioral Sciences Nils Rosenbaum, paid $76.50 an hour or $159,120 a year.

Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan, paid $73.53 an hour or $152,942.40 a year.

City Attorney Jessica M. Hernandez, paid $72.99 an hour or $151,819.20 a year.

Fire Chief David W. Downey, paid $64.09 an hour or $134,992 a year. (Announced departure and will be gone September 25, 2017 to work for the Hillsboro Fire Department in Oregon.)

Mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert A. Montano, paid $61.27 an hour or $127,441 a year.

Director of Solid Waste Department John W. Soladay, $55.99 an hour or $116,459.20 a year.

Assistant APD Chief Robert Huntsman, paid $57.43 an hour or $119,454.40 a year. (Has left the City already.)

APD Executive Director William R. Slausen, paid $53.82 an hour or $111,945.60 a year.

Environmental Health Director Mary L. Leonard, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.

Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Taylor, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.

Senior Affairs Director Jorja Armijo -Brasher, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 year.

Animal Welfare Director Paul R. Caster, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.

Cultural Services Director Dana N. Feldman, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.

Planning Department Director Suzanne G. Lubar, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.

Human Resources Director Mary L. Scott, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.

Mark T. Leach, Manager of Technology Services, paid $53.04 an hour or $110,323.20 a year.

Family Community Services Director Douglas Chaplin, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.

Transit Director Bruce A. Rizzieri, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.

Economic Department Director Gary L. Oppedahl, paid $51.27 an hour or $106,641.60 a year.

Police Emergency Communications Manager Erika L. Wilson, paid $50.38 and hour or $104,790.40 a year.

Aviation Director (Airport) James D. Hinde, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.

City Clerk Natalie Y. Howard, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.

Finance and Administrative Services Director Lou Hoffman, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.

311 Citizens Contact Center Division Manager Maria C. Prothero, paid $43.71 an hour or $90.916.80 a year.

Mayor’s Director of Constituent Services Alan E. Armijo, paid $39.71 an hour or $82,596 a year.

Director of Office of Emergency Management Roger L. Ebner, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.

Real Time Crime Center Manager TJ Wilham, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.

APD Major and Academy Director Jessica Tyler, paid $51.26 an hour or $106,620 a year.

(NOTE: Major APD Tyler is not listed as an ungraded employee but is “at will” as an APD Major.)


I have not endorsed anyone running for Mayor.

Further, I have not asked for and have not been promised any position to return to City Hall.

I am fully retired, enjoying life, very happy and having fun doing my political blog.

All my blog articles are sent by email to every candidate for Mayor and City Council.

To all the people who may be leaving City Hall after December 1, 2017, I wish them well.

I also want to tell them there is indeed life after city hall.

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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.