Fear And Loathing Of Voters and Workers Continues At City Hall

Two worker rights groups held a press conference and are asking a state district judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed in April that seeks to keep Albuquerque’s proposed sick leave ordinance off the ballot. (See May 5, 2017 Albuquerque Journal, Business section, Section B, “SUPPORT FOR SICK LEAVE; Motions ask judge to toss suit seeking to keep ordinance off Oct. 3 ballot”)

Plaintiff’s in the same lawsuit are also asking that the judge declare unenforceable Albuquerque’s minimum wage ordinance.

Not a single candidate for Mayor nor City Council appeared at the press conference in support of the proposed sick leave ordinance nor in support of Albuquerque’s existing minimum wage ordinance.

The City of Albuquerque and the City Attorney’s Office should be aggressively defending the minimum wage ordinance and should enforce it.

The City of Albuquerque and the City Attorney’s Office should also be advocating that the sick leave proposed ordinance be placed on the October 2 municipal ballot as required by law.

In 2012, by a two-to-one ratio, voters in the City of Albuquerque decided to raise the City’s minimum wage from $7.50 per hour to $8.50 per hour. In 2012, Republican Mayor Berry, the Republican Albuquerque City Councilors and the business community opposed and campaigned against the minimum wage voter initiative.

After enactment of the City’s minimum wage ordinance, Mayor Berry did not object to his appointed City Attorney saying the City did not have the resources to enforce the law against all businesses who violated the minimum wage law.

The current attitude of City Hall is that workers need to go to court on their own at their own expense to enforce the minimum wage ordinance and that is why the class action lawsuit was filed by waitresses and waiters.

The existing minimum wage ordinance is a city ordinance that needs to be enforced by the city and the city attorney’s office and not leave workers hanging out to dry and to fend for themselves at their own expense.

If enacted, the mandatory sick leave ordinance should also be enforced by the City.

Every single business in Albuquerque is required to register and have a license to do business and must agree to adhere to all enacted city ordinances and laws.

Businesses cannot pick and choose what laws and City Ordinances they want to follow.

The City Attorney’s office and Planning Department have the authority to enforce existing ordinances.

Businesses licensed by the City can be ordered to follow the minimum wage law or the City will take court action to have their business licenses revoked and secure Court Orders to shut down the businesses for violating the law.

The City Attorney’s Office needs to do the right thing and enforce the existing minimum wage ordinance and the sick leave ordinance if enacted by the voters.

All candidates for Mayor and City Council need to articulate their position on the Health Workforce Act mandating the payment of sick leave.

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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.