What Took So Long?

It has been reported that APD’s Real Time Crime Center manager T.J. Wilham, the first spokesman for former Mayor Berry and former Albuquerque Journal reporter, has been terminated by the Keller Administration.

It was reported he had to be escorted out of the building.

Many wonder what took so long.

On September 2, 2017, it was reported Wilham was transferred from an unclassified, at will position, he held to the same position that was deliberately re-classified to give him more job security so he would be better protected from losing his job when a new mayor took office on December 1, 2017.

As was the case with Dayna Crawford being transferred into a classified position at the Transit Department, TJ Wilham being transferred into a classified position was so very wrong on so many levels.

Wilham’s job description appeared to have been almost handwritten by him with only him in mind.

Wilham then applied for the newly created classified job that he already was holding down as an at will employee and he was given the job.

What added insult to injury, as a civilian he was given extensive and expensive training that should be reserved for sworn police officers and not civilians.

TJ Wilham was an Albuquerque Journal reporter eight (8) years ago wrote highly biased stories against the Chavez Administration.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was on the receiving end of some of his stories.

When Berry was elected, he went to work for Berry as his spokesman along with Chris Ramirez who left Channel 4 and later returned to the station.

City Hall insiders say TJ Wilham and Chris Ramirez did not get along and Ramirez was forced out.

TJ Whilham was paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 which was more than double what he made as a newspaper reporter, not including benefits from the City such as sick leave, annual leave and health insurance which adds about 20% to his base salary.

All too often political operatives take high paying political jobs with an elected administration knowing full well they are at-will employees assuming the risk of termination in exchange for a lucrative salary.

When their time finally runs out, they seek the protections of personnel rules and regulations that are more designed to protect long term employees who make significantly less.

It’s the sense of entitlement to continue city employment by any political loyalist or operative that is so very disgusting.

I remember 8 years ago, Mayor elect Berry during the transition sent one of his political operatives to the Mayor’s Office who wrote down the names off of names plates to get correct spellings of all the at will employees who worked in the Mayor’s office.

Berry then sent out termination letters to the Chavez appointees and Berry filled the positions with his own loyalists in short order.

I did not care, knew the risks and just retired.

That’s politics.

Best wishes TJ, and good luck with 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.