Joe Monahan is a long-time political blogger who for years has published his political blog “New Mexico Politics with Joe Monahan”.
If you are a political junkie and do not read Joe Monahan, you do not know what is going on in the world of “La Politica” as he calls it.
On Wednesday August 8, Joe Monahan published the following that should be of interest to any city hall observer:
High profile Dem political consultant Alan Packman is packing up and moving into new digs on the 11th floor of Government Center where Tim Keller, one of his final clients, presides over matters.
That’s the word from City Hall insiders who report that Packman will work in constituent services under the direction of Alan Armijo, a former Dem city councilor who was placed in his position by Republican Mayor RJ Berry.
Keller, Packman and his Rio Strategies firm came under fire during Keller’s mayoral campaign over financial improprieties.
Packman solicited $30,000 in cash donations but listed them as “in-kind” services to the Keller campaign.
The city ethics board ruled the Keller campaign had violated the ethics code but did not mean to and did not fine or reprimand him.
Packman’s star was dimmed after he ran into the ethics buzzsaw.
Rio Strategies had been charging clients as much as $10,000 a month for consulting services.
Armijo makes $85,000 a year in his job.
No word yet on what Packman will be getting paid.
His last campaign was for Garrett VeneKlasen who lost the Dem nomination for state land commissioner in the June primary.”
The link to Joe Monahan’s blog is here:
On Monday, August 13, 2018 Joe Monahan published a corrected version on the hiring of political consultant Alan Packman by the administration of Mayor Keller.
The first said he would be working in constituent services in the Mayor’s office under Alan Armijo.
The city confirmed Packaman will be working in the Department of Technology and Innovation which oversees the 311 service.
311 is the centralized call center for all non-emergency inquiries and services.
Packman’s official title will be “Integration Specialist” and he will be paid a salary of $75,000.
PACKMAN THE POLITICAL CONSULTANT
Alan Packman has always played a significant role in the political career of Tim Keller and many other young progressive Democratic candidates.
Mr. Packman has also been known to speak and make presentations at “Progress Now” forums with hundreds in attendance to teach progressive candidates in breakout sessions how to run for office.
Alan Packman was or is the main principal in the political consulting firms known as “Full Arsenal” and “Rio Strategies”.
PACKMAN AND STATE AUDITOR TIM KELLER
Packman’s political consulting firm’s managed Tim Keller’s campaign for New Mexico State Auditor.
According to campaign finance reports filed with the New Mexico Secretary of State, Mr. Packman’s consulting firms were paid lucrative consulting fees in the thousands of dollars by Tim Keller while he was New Mexico State Auditor.
According to the New Mexico Secretary of State First Biannual “Report of Expenditures and Contributions” filed on April 11, 2016, New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller had $37,755 total monetary in contributions and had total expenditures of $27,081.10 for the reporting period and paid $22,944.57 to a firm listed as “Full Arsenal” for “consulting”.
According to the Second Biannial “Report of Expenditures and Contributions” filed on October 11, 2016 for the reporting period, Mr. Keller had $14,900 total monetary contributions with total expenditure of $25,414.00 and paid $14,018.63 to “Rio Strategies”.
State Auditor Keller never disclosed why he needed “consulting” services as the New Mexico State Auditor and what work those firms did for the State of New Mexico.
Tim Keller never disclosed if “Full Arsenal” and “Rio Strategies” worked or were paid to do work on Keller’s campaign for Mayor of Albuquerque the year before Keller announced he was running for Mayor nor what was the “consulting” and services performed for him by Full Arsenal and Rio Strategies.
PACKMAN AND MAYORAL CANDIDATE TIM KELLER
When Keller ran for Mayor, Alan Packman was front and center and paid very well for consulting services to get Keller on the ballot and to collect 3,000 qualifying donations for public financing.
According to the July 14, 2017 Tim Keller Campaign Finance Report, on April 3, 2017 the Keller campaign was given $342,952 by the City of Albuquerque in public finance and paid to the campaign by the Albuquerque City Clerk.
The July 14, 2017 Keller Campaign Finance Report for Mayor listed total of $130, 863.63 of which the following amounts were paid to “Rio Strategies” for consulting and staff salaries and campaign management:
April 17, 2017, “CONSULTING” $42,110.31
April 17, 2017, “STAFF SALARY FOR JAN-MARCH $10,471.72
May 10, 2017, “STAFF SALARIES AND CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT” $20,784,24
June 6, 2017, “STAFF SALARIES AND CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT” $14,410,14
July 11, 2107 “STAFF SALARIES AND CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT” $14,201.60
TOTAL PAID TO “RIO STRATEGIES” IN 3 Month Period: $101,978.01
The August 11, 2017 Keller for Mayor Campaign Finance report reflects that $5,216.21 was spent during the last reporting period which includes $3,115 paid to Rio Strategies for the printing of 2,000 signs
PACKMAN’S OTHER FORMER CLIENTS
Alan Packman has also played a significant role in the careers of other progressive Democratic candidates especially in Tim Keller’s age group, the 40 to 45+ crowd.
The political campaigns Packman has worked on as a political consultant and managed directly through his consulting firms have been Maggie Toulouse Oliver for Secretary of State, Raul Torrez for Bernalillo County District Attorney, Jeff Apodaca for Governor, Garrett Vene Klausen for Land Commissioner, Pat Davis for City Council and United States Congress and Roman Montoya for Bernalillo County Clerk to mention a few.
Packman also worked for Senator Martin Heinrich’s campaigns at times and the Martin Chavez for United States Congress campaign.
In the interest of full disclosure, Mr. Packman was employed by yours truly when I ran for Mayor over 4 years ago at which time he was paid a nominal monthly salary of approximately $1,000 per month for approximately 8 months.
Four years ago, then State Senator Tim Keller was expressing his desire to run for Mayor, but decided not to run for Mayor but to run for New Mexico State Auditor when I ran for Mayor.
Normally, it would not be considered a big deal that any former campaign worker or supporter with strong loyalties to a candidate to go to work for a successful candidate.
This is a link to a blog article giving a listing of all the at will positions and people that were appointed by former Mayor Richard Berry:
It is not uncommon that key supporters or campaign workers are hired for high management or mid management levels, such as Chief of Staff or as a city department director or division head and paid $95,000 to $110,000 a year.
However, in the case of Alan Packman, a professional political consultant, and the work of “constituent services” he will be doing and working with a Berry holdover Alan Armijo, it is probably a prediction of things to come for Mayor Keller.
Constituent services is critical in giving any incumbent a leg up and an advantage for any election when it comes to likely voters who can be called on at a later date for help, a vote or for that matter a donation.
Former Republican Congressman Manuel Lujan and former Republican US Senator Pete Domenici were very well known for their constituent’s services throughout the state and were both re-elected for decades repeatedly by landslides in a solid Democratic State.
Packman’s entry may be an indication that Alan Armijo is on his way out.
Alan Armijo is a former Democratic County Commissioner and former Democratic Albuquerque City Councilor.
During the 2013 Mayors race, Alan Armijo did a “robo call” recording to registered Democratic voters endorsing Republican Mayor Richard Berry.
After the election, Democrat Armijo was given his job by Republican Mayor Richard Berry.
Republican Mayor Richard Berry appointed Democrat Armijo Director of Constituent Services and paid him $39.71 an hour or $82,596 a year.
The position of Director of Constituent Services is not a protected position and is one of the many positions that is “at will” and serves at the pleasure of the Mayor.
Sources have said that constituent’s complaints go to die in the Mayor’s Office of Constituent Services headed up by Alan Armijo.
The fact that Alan Packman has now been hired to work directly out of the Mayor Keller’s Office after almost a full year after Keller’s election as mayor is a clear indication that Mayor Keller intends to run either for re-election or for higher office, which should surprise no one.
Mayor Tim Keller has expressed in the past that he has a desire to run for Governor which will not be likely for 8 years if Democrat Michell Lujan Grisham is elected Governor.
Keller could conceivably serve two full terms as Mayor and then the timing would be right to run for Governor.
Political insiders are saying that United States Senator Tom Udall is giving very mixed messages or keeping mum as to if he is running for reelection in 2020.
If Udall does not run for reelection, it may Keller’s only option to make a move for the US Senate seat, especially if things do not get better for him in Albuquerque when it comes to APD, crime rates and the economy.
It would not be a first time for Tim Keller to try and move on to higher office before finishing a term he was elected to serve seeing that he has now done it twice before: first as a New Mexico State Senator to run for New Mexico State Auditor and second as State Auditor to run for Mayor of Albuquerque.
The fact that Packman is now going to go to work full time for Tim Keller handling constituent services says a lot in the world of “La Politica” as political blogger Joe Monahan calls it.
Keller needs someone he can trust in the Mayor’s office handling constituent complaints.
It is difficult to believe that all Mr. Packman will be doing is responding to constituent complaints and demands when he is a high priced professional political consultant who has made a very nice living in the past from running political campaigns.
It is never too early to start getting ready and started for a reelection effort or for that matter the next political office when you are politically ambitious.
All too often, ambition shatters a youthful politician’s concentration in just doing a great job, especially when a political consultant who got them elected has the ear of the elected official who has his eye on reelection or higher office.