APD Deputy Chief Of Staff In Charge Of Media Relations Is “Political Damage Control” Position

On October 29, 2018, ABQ Report published the following article “Human Robot Simon Drobik Bills City for 26 hours of Work in a Single Day”
written by contributing reporter Charles Arasim and editor and reporter Dennis Domrzalski:

– Drobik billed taxpayers for 26 hours in a single day

– Billed an astounding 275.6 hours of work in a two-week period

– Mayor Tim Keller refuses to comment or call for an audit

– City councilors say nothing

– Nobody seems to care

Albuquerque’s human robot, Officer Simon Drobik of the Albuquerque Police Department appears to be smashing all records when it comes to a human’s ability to work.

So far this year there have been only four days in which Drobik, one of APD’s public information officers and an hourly employee, has not billed the public for working. Drobik appears to have worked while on vacation, and while on paid time off, and on one occasion he billed the public for 26 hours of work in a single 24 hour day, according to city of Albuquerque payroll records.

[You can review Simon Drobik’s pay stubs at the below link] :

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QZuxGyUz8v3R7jzZc9WbGhKrp1rpuAtn/view

And in one two-week pay period, Drobik billed APD for an astounding 275.66 hours of work. That apparently included 84 hours of overtime, 57 hours of regular pay, seven hours of chief’s overtime and 22 hours of something called contract based overtime. But while putting in more than 160 hours of regular work and overtime, Drobik still managed to get 10 hours of holiday pay and 13 hours of paid leave, according to payroll records.

So far this year, Drobik, whose pay rate is $31.50 an hour, has made around $150,000, according to city records. He appears to be working an average of 100 hours a week, pretty much seven days a week.

Neither Mayor Tim Keller’s office, nor any of the nine city councilors responded to ABQReport requests for comments on Drobik’s super-human feats of work and the massive amount of overtime pay he has been receiving. Keller’s office did not respond to a request for a comment, and whether Keller, a former state auditor, was concerned about the situation, and whether the mayor would ask for an audit of Drobik’s time sheets.

Here’s another highlight from Drobik’s pay records. On Sunday, Feb. 18, he billed the city for 26 hours of work. That appears to have included 10 hours of overtime for having worked a holiday, and 10 hours for having taken the holiday off. It also included 10 hours of Chief’s Overtime.

On another day, Friday, April 13, billed the city for 24 hours of work. On two other days, Drobik billed taxpayers for 22 hours of work.

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2018/10/29/Human-Robot-Simon-Drobik-Bills-City-for-26-hours-of-Work-in-a-Single-Day

DOBRIK’S OVERTIME CONTINUES TO PILE UP

This is not the first time that Simon Drobik’s overtime has been called into questioned by ABQ Reports.

On October 16, 2018, reporter and editor Dennis Domrzalski of ABQ Report published an investigative report that APD’s Public Information Officer and Patrolman First Class Simon Drobik had earned $146,000 so far this year and is on track to make $200,0000 this year as a result of overtime pay.

You can read the entire October 16, 2018 ABQ Report here:

https://www.abqreport.com/single-post/2018/10/16/APDs-200000-Man-PIO-Made-146000-So-Far-This-Year

Drobik’s base pay is around $48,500 a year but he has been paid well over $100,000 in overtime so far this year.

APD is claiming that APD Public Information Officer Simon Drobik works full-time as PIO during weekdays as his primary assignment, working 7 days a week, and he also works as a patrol officer entitling him to be paid for that position as well, in essence holding down and being paid for two positions.

APD’S TROUBLED PAST WITH TIME CARDS AND “OVERTIME”

On September 25, 2018, a grand jury indicted a former Albuquerque police officer on 10 counts of fraud, embezzlement and other charges for “time card fraud” when he was a sergeant with the department.

The indictment, filed in 2nd Judicial District Court on Tuesday, charged James Geha, 50, with computer access with intent to defraud or embezzle over $2,500; fraud over $2,500; and eight counts of paying or receiving public money for services not rendered or in the alternative making or permitting false public voucher.

Geha is alleged to have bilked the city out of $13,000 through the time card fraud.

https://www.abqjournal.com/1225465/former-police-sergeant-indicted-on-fraud-charges.html

In March of 2017, a city internal audit report revealed that the Albuquerque Police Department spent $3.9 million over its “overtime” budget resulting $13 million was paid in overtime when the actual budget was for $9 million.

The audit found that too often, officers didn’t follow the rules when it came to get overtime pre-approved or didn’t properly submit overtime for “grant funded” traffic over time.

According to the audit, there were potentially 38,000 cases of unapproved overtime that occurred during fiscal year 2016 based on a sampling of time cards.

http://www.petedinelli.com/2018/03/30/apd-overtime-pay-abuse-and-recruitment-tool/

http://www.petedinelli.com/2017/09/20/associated-press-story-on-apd-police-overtime/

DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF AT APD IN CHARGE OF PUBLIC AND MEDIA RELATIONS

On October 18, 2018 Mayor Tim Keller announced the appointment of Elizabeth Armijo as a Deputy Chief of Staff at APD in charge of public and media relations.

Elizabeth Armijo served as Lieutenant with the New Mexico State Police in the division of Community Outreach and Public Affairs.

Elizabeth Armijo as a New Mexico State Police Lieutenant managed response plans, coordinated with different law enforcement agencies and focused on community engagement.

According to the Keller Administration, Armijo’s experience in law enforcement with an emphasis on community outreach will be “invaluable as Deputy Chief of Staff at APD where she will work on implementing initiatives that will focus on building trust with the community”.

The Keller Administration did not announce the salary paid to Elizabeth Armijo, but Deputy Chief’s are normally paid between $125,000 to $140,000 a year in salary, not including benefits.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY

The Keller Administration has hired yet another public relation person to deal with “all APD all the time” news cycles and interactions with the media, but this time it has created an APD Deputy Chief of Staff Position which is unheard of and probably unnecessary.

Deputy Chief of Staff Elizabeth Armijo given her background and experience no doubt is capable of dealing with the media and community and she is a sworn police officer.

It is difficult justifying making essentially a public information officer an APD Deputy Chief, unless you want to insulate the Chief, the Deputy Chief’s and perhaps the Mayor from adverse publicity and dealing with criminal cases that are high profile such as the murder and dismemberment of 9 year old Victoria Martens or the shooting of homeless camper James Boyd.

The James Boyd killing was an absolute disaster in the manner in which it was handled with the media and a Mayor absent from the city contributing to the public relations nightmare.

Dealing with the media and public on heinous crimes often results in a real need for what is called “damage control” by APD when APD’s actions are called into question.

APD Public Information Officers do not need to be sworn police officers, should not be Deputy Chief’s, and should not be paid an hourly wage of a sworn police with the duties assumed by citizen staff under the direction and supervision of the Mayor’s Office and the Mayor’s Public Information Officer.

A mandatory “cap” on the amount overtime any sworn police officer can be paid needs to be established that is fair and equitable for all sworn personnel to make available overtime to more sworn police officers in the department.

All Public Information Officers for the City should be made at will employees and paid a set yearly salary with no overtime paid and work out of the office of the Mayor under the direction of the administration.

With the appointment of a newly created position of Deputy Chief of Staff at APD in charge of public relation and media relations, there really is no need for the continued services of Simon Drobik to serve as a public information officer for APD.

Mayor Tim Keller and APD Chief Michael Geier should relieve Simon Drobik of his PIO duties and return him to the field full time exclusively as a police officer.

Mayor Tim Keller campaign and promised transparency and accountability and he should order a payroll audit of APD and Public Information Officer Simon Dolbik.

The payroll records and time sheets of Simon Drobik need to be audited to find out who at APD has been signing off on what looks like an outrageous and impossible amount of overtime.

An audit of APD payroll clearly needs to be conducted to determine if there is yet another abuse of overtime pay and policies within APD.

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About

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.