APD Police Union Contract Violates State Law By Allowing Management Positions Of Lieutenants and Sergeants Into Bargaining Unit; Empower APD Chief To Immediately Terminate Cops “For Cause”; Replace Hourly Wage With Salary Structure; City and DOJ Need To Move To Dismiss Union As Party

On November 2, 2020, the Federal Court Appointed Monitor James Ginger filed with the Federal Court his 12th Compliance Audit Report of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) reforms mandated under the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA). The report covers the twelfth-monitoring period of February 1, 2020 to July 31, 2020. The Report is 356 pages long. It follows the format as all the previous 11 reports. It’s a detailed audit of every single paragraph of the consent decree and for that reason it is tedious and difficult to read.

“COUNTER CASA AFFECT” STILL INTENTIONAL AND DESTRUCTIVE

The 12th Federal Monitors’ report contains a summary highlighting major deficiencies that have set back compliance levels. For the 4th time, and after over 6 years, the monitor again reports that the “Counter Casa” effect is interfering with APD accomplishing the implementation the settlement reforms.

It was on September 10, 2018 that Federal Monitor Dr. James Ginger first told the federal court that a group of “high-ranking APD officers” within APD were trying to thwart the reform efforts. The Federal Monitor revealed that the group of “high-ranking APD officers” were APD Sergeants and Lieutenants.

In his 10th report Federal Monitor Ginger referred to the group as the “Counter-CASA effect” and stated:

“Sergeants and lieutenants, at times, go to extreme lengths to excuse officer behaviors that clearly violate established and trained APD policy, using excuses, deflective verbiage, de minimis comments and unsupported assertions to avoid calling out subordinates’ failures to adhere to established policies and expected practice. Supervisors (sergeants) and mid-level managers (lieutenants) routinely ignore serious violations, fail to note minor infractions, and instead, consider a given case “complete”.

“Some members of APD … resist actively APD’s reform efforts, including using deliberate counter-CASA processes. For example, … Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) disciplinary timelines, appear at times to be manipulated by supervisory, management and command levels at the area commands, letting known violations lie dormant until timelines [mandated by the union contract] for discipline cannot be met.”

In his 12th report, the Federal Monitor again identifies union resistance to the reforms by union membership. The Independent Monitor provides details of cases on how union members stall and delay internal investigations to the point no discipline is imposed and deadlines pass.

In his 12th Monitor’s Report, Dr. Ginger states:

1.“… [When] … Internal Affairs … allow union representatives … and … officers to respond to salient , and reasonable, fact-finding questions by simply reading a Garrity statement [invoking the right to remain silent] … into the record, as opposed to answering questions posed, there are serious and near terminal problems with process, policy enforcement, and outcome factors.”

2. APD Internal Affairs routinely permits officers and union representatives to hijack internal fact-finding.

3. “[There] are strong under currents of Counter-CASA effects in some critical units on APD’s critical path related to CASA compliance. These include supervision at the field level; mid-level command in both operational and administrative functions, [including] patrol operations, internal affairs practices, disciplinary practices, training, and force review). Supervision, [the] sergeants and lieutenants, and mid-level command, [the commanders] remain one of the most critical weak links in APD’s compliance efforts.

4. Many of the instances of non-compliance seen in the field are a matter of “will not,” instead of “cannot”! The Monitor … report[s] … he see actions that transcend innocent errors and instead speak to issues of cultural norms yet to be addressed and changed by APD leadership.”

5. Supervision, which includes Lieutenants and Sergeants in the union, “needs to leave behind its dark traits of myopia, passive resistance, and outright support for, and implementation of, counter-CASA processes.”

POLICE UNION CONTRACT PROVISIONS

The 2 year, city contract negotiated by the Mayor Tim Keller Administration with the Albuquerque Police Officers Association (APOA) was for the time period of July 7, 2018 to June 30, 2020 and therefor expired on July 1, 2020.

The 65 page APOA police “Collective Bargaining Agreement” (CBA) can be down loaded as a PDF file at this link:

https://www.cabq.gov/humanresources/documents/apoa-jul-9-2016.pdf/view

Three sections of the police union contract are worth noting. Those sections are:
Recognition

“ 1.3.1 The APOA is recognized as the Exclusive Representative for regular full time, non-probationary police officers through the rank of Lieutenants in the APD … .

1.3.2. The City of Albuquerque extends to the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association representing such unit of employees the following rights:

1.3.2.1 To represent the employees in negotiations and in the settlement of grievances;

1.3.2.3 To exclusive representation status during the term of this agreement as provided in the Employee Relations Ordinance;

2.5 The City and the APOA recognize the necessity to collaborate on issues that arise as a result of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation and proposals related to the findings of the DOJ regarding the Albuquerque Police Department. If the City anticipates the implementation of policies or directives related to its agreement discussions with the DOJ that impacts Officers’ terms or conditions of employment, the City will notify the APOA of its anticipated changes and provide APOA the opportunity to meet and confer with the City in a timely manner on the anticipated changes. The commitment will not prevent the APOA from submitting the changes for negotiations when the parties negotiate a successor collective bargaining agreement.
… .

Term of the Agreement – This Agreement shall become effective on the first full pay period following ratification by the rank-and-file membership, approval by the Mayor, and signature by the parties, and shall remain in full force and effect through June 30, 2020.”

THE COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (CASA)

It was on October 31, 2014 that the federal Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) was agreed to by the City of Albuquerque and the Department of Justice (DOJ) mandating 271 APD reforms and the appointment of a Federal Court appointed monitor to conduct audits of APD’s progress on implementing the reforms. The link to the CASA is here:

http://documents.cabq.gov/justice-department/settlement-agreement.pdf

https://www.justice.gov/usao-nm/apd#:~:text=On%20October%2031%2C%202014%2C%20the,use%20of%20force%20against%20civilians.

After the CASA was agreed to by the City and DOJ, the police union intervened in the case and was allowed to become a third party to the federal court litigation. The Federal Court approved the intervention without question because the parties agreed.

Becoming a party to the lawsuit allowed the union a right to participate in any and all negotiations, especially the writing of new “use of force” and use of “deadly force policies” for APD. The police union became a party to the proceeding for two major reason:

One: To promote and preserve any and all rights its membership has under the union contract, especially those that may come in conflict with the CASA.

Two: To allow it to give input and give its stamp of approval on city policy on use of force and deadly force

During the August 20, 2019 status conference, the APOA Union President Shaun Willoughby made it clear his union membership attitude towards the CASA reforms. District Court Judge Browning asked APOA Union President Shawn Willoughby what he and the union rank and file felt about the CASA. Willoughby’s responses were a quick condemnation of the CASA when he said “we hate it”, “we’re frustrated”, the reforms and mandates are “a hard pill to swallow”, and he said that “all change is hard”.

According to Willoughby, police officers are afraid to do their jobs for fear of being investigated, fired or disciplined. The police union has never articulated in open court and in clear terms exactly what it is about the reforms that are keeping rank and file from “doing their” jobs and “why they hate” the CASA. The union has said police officer’s feel their “hands are tied” preventing them from being pro-active.

It’s likely what the police union feels is interfering with its membership from doing their jobs includes one or more of the following:

1. The mandatory use of lapel cameras by APD.
2. APD police can no longer shoot at fleeing cars.
3. APD police can no longer use choke holds to subdue suspects.
4. APD police need to use less lethal force and not rely on the SWAT unit.
5. APD police must use de-escalating tactics.
6. All APD officers must be trained in crisis intervention.
7. APD management must now hold all subordinate police officers accountable for all levels of violations of standard operating procedures.
8. The mandatory “paper work” associated with any degree of use of force is too cumbersome.
9. APD Police officers are required to intervene when they witness and are concerned about other officers use of force.
10. Mandatory notification to superiors for investigation by police officers who witness another officer’s “excessive use of force” or violations of CASA reforms.

THE POLICE UNION CONTRACT PROCESS EXPLAINED

One of the first terms of the union contact is who will be included in the “bargaining unit”. In the expired contract, the APOA is recognized as the exclusive representative for regular full time, non-probationary police officers through the rank of Lieutenants in APD. This means the ranks of Sergeants, Master Police Officer, Senior Police Officers, Patrol Officers First Class, and all Detectives are included in the bargaining unit. Approximately 16 years ago, the positions of APD Captains, who are now called Area Commanders, were included in the bargaining unit until the City demanded their removal from the union in that they are management.

Negotiated police union contract terms include hourly pay, overtime pay and bonus pay know as longevity pay, the way that police officers’ records are maintained, and how internal affairs investigations are conducted. These are standard provisions that are common place in APD’s contract.

The union contract includes numerous provisions and stipulations to protect police officer’ s employment rights and remedies, including the right to appeal disciplinary action. The police union contract gives officers accused and found violating standard operating procedures and found guilty of wrongdoing a wide range of “vested” rights they would not have as unclassified or “at will” employees. A union negotiated right includes the right to appeal any and all disciplinary action and to be reinstated and paid all back pay if reinstatement is ordered by the personnel board.

After the police union employment contract is negotiated between the city and the union, the union membership then votes to accept or reject the contract on a majority vote. Once approved by the union membership, the contract is forwarded to the Albuquerque City Council to vote on the contract before it is sent to the Mayor for signature. City Councilors are strictly prohibited from taking part in negotiations and changing the contract terms due to a provision in the City’s Labor Management Relations Ordinance §3-2-18, and all the city council cand do is vote to accept or reject the contract as presented.

All police union contract negotiations have been put on hold amidst the pandemic. As a result, the terms and conditions of the expired contract, including who is in the bargaining unit and hourly pay, remain in effect until negotiations can take place at an undetermined date in the future. It’s likely the contract negotiations will not commence until the pandemic is over.

THE NEW MEXICO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES BARGANING ACT

The New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act, Sections 10-7E-1 to 10-7E-26 H (NMSA 1978), governs the enforcement of the city’s collective bargaining agreement with the APD police union. The link to the statute is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/statute.php

The sections on the “rights of employees”, “rights of employers, ” and “impasse resolutions are worth noting:

Section 10-7E-5 provides for the rights of public employees:

“Public employees, other than management employees and confidential employees, may form, join or assist a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining through representatives chosen by public employees without interference, restraint or coercion and shall have the right to refuse any such activities.”

The link to Section 10-7E-5 is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/pdf/statutes/10-7E-5_Rights%20of%20public%20employees.pdf

EDITOR’S NOTE: The statute is very clear that “management employees” are prohibited from joining the police union, yet the City has allowed APD Lieutenants and Sergeants to be part of the collective bargaining unit.

Section 10-7E-6 provides for the rights of public employers:

“Unless limited by the provisions of a collective bargaining agreement or by other statutory provision, a public employer may:

A. direct the work of, hire, promote, assign, transfer, demote, suspend, discharge or terminate public employees;
B. determine qualifications for employment and the nature and content of personnel examinations;
C. take actions as may be necessary to carry out the mission of the public employer in emergencies; and
D. retain all rights not specifically limited by a collective bargaining agreement or by the Public Employee Bargaining Act [ 10-7E-1 NMSA 1978].”

The link to Section 10-7E-6 is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/pdf/statutes/10-7E-6_Rights%20of%20public%20employers.pdf

Section 10-7E-18 of the Employee Bargaining Act provides for union and government impasse resolutions. Impasse Resolutions are where the parties cannot reach agreement on contract terms and ask for mediation and further negotiations on the contested terms.

It is Section 10-7E-18 that provides procedures for impasse and reads in part as follows:

A. The following negotiations and impasse procedures shall be followed by the state and exclusive representatives for state employees:

[LISTS 5 PROVISIONS FOR IMPASSE PROCEDURES WITH TIME LINES.] … .

B. [PROVIDES FOR IMPASSE PROCEDURES.] … .

(EDITORS NOTE: The main difference between A and B is that A applies to the state and its employees and B applies to governmental employers/employees who are not the state — e.g., city, county, schools, etc.)

C. A public employer other than the state may enter into a written agreement with the exclusive representative setting forth an alternative impasse resolution procedure.

D. In the event that an impasse continues after the expiration of a contract, the existing contract will continue in full force and effect until it is replaced by a subsequent written agreement. However, this shall not require the public employer to increase any employees’ levels, steps or grades of compensation contained in the existing contract.

The link to Section 10-7E-18 is here:

https://www.pelrb.state.nm.us/pdf/statutes/10-7E-18_Impasse%20resolution.pdf

FEDERAL COURT QUESTIONS ROLE OF POLICE UNION

On Friday, December 4, an all-day status conference hearing was held “virtually” before Federal District Judge James Browning on the Federal Monitor’s 12th Compliance Audit. Upward of 90 people participated via a ZOOM call.

Throughout the December 4 day’s long hearing, Federal Judge Browning asked a number of those who made presentations about the role the APD Union Police union. The same questions on the police union were asked of the Department of Justice Attorneys, the Police Union Attorney and Interim Chief Harold Medina.

POLICE UNION CONTRACT ALLOWS POLICE MANAGEMENT TO BE MEMBERS OF UNION

The Chief, the 5 Deputy Chiefs, Assistant Deputy Chiefs and all APD Area Commanders are “unclassified” positions and they can be terminated “without cause” at any time. They are prohibited from being members of the police union and are management. The Chief serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Deputy Chiefs and Area Commanders serve at the pleasure of the Mayor and Chief and can be terminated without cause.

APD Lieutenants and Sergeants, Detectives and Patrol Officers are all are “classified” positions and can only be terminated for cause. APD Lieutenants and Sergeants are included in the police collective bargaining unit . Any and all disciplinary actions taken against APD Lieutenants and Sergeants, Detectives and Patrol Officers are governed by the union contract. APD Lieutenants and Sergeants are management positions but are classified positions and can only be terminated with cause. They have due process rights including progressive disciplinary actions and rights of appeal.

POLICE CHIEF CANNOT FIRE CLASSIFIED SWORN PERSONNEL AND BOUND BY UNION CONTRACT

A question asked by Federal Judge Browning was if the APD Chief had the authority to fire any police officer immediately. It appeared as though the Judge wanted to know if the Chief can fire a police officer for clear or obvious police misconduct that is found or reported upon. The answer to the question given by Elizabeth Martinez, Assistant United States Attorney for New Mexico and Interim Chief Harold Medina was no, the chief cannot fire union members without cause.

Judge Browning was told that any disciplinary action against any member of the police union is governed by the collective bargaining unit contract. The police union contract outlines police officers’ personnel rights and remedies, provides for personnel hearings, provides for internal affairs investigations, and provides for progressive discipline and the use of a matrix for discipline available.

LIEUTENANTS AND SERGEANTS

Judge Browning asked the question if APD Lieutenants and Sergeants should be allowed to be part of the police union. No clear response was given by the DOJ and City Officials, but the Police Union Attorney said yes. Interim Chief Harold Medina said he was “pro union”, he has worked with the union President and had no problem with Lieutenants and Sergeants being part of the collective bargaining unit.

Judge Browning asked the question if he could hold the Union in Contempt of Court and DOJ and City Officials gave no clear-cut answer while the Union Attorney said the union has not violated the collective bargaining contract. Judge Browning also raised the prospect of APD’s Internal Affairs Unit be abolished, but gave no inclination if that should be done.

COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS

The current police union contract expired on June 30, 2020. The City and the Union have now suspended their negotiations because of the corona virus pandemic and the uncertainty of the city’s revenues for the new fiscal year that begins July 1. The union contract negotiations must commence soon. Until a new union contract is negotiated and approved, the terms and conditions of the old contract will remain in effect.

The Police Union no doubt wants to continue the terms of the expired contract, including who is in the collective bargaining unit. There is no real excuse to delay negotiations on the police union contract. Delay will only allow the Union to continue dictating to the city what should be done and continue its efforts to obstruct implementation of the police reforms under the CASA.

The City and the Police Union have ostensibly forgotten or even ignored Section 2.5 of the police union contract that says in part:

“If the City anticipates the implementation of policies or directives related to its agreement discussions with the DOJ that impacts Officers’ terms or conditions of employment, the City will notify the APOA of its anticipated changes and provide APOA the opportunity to meet and confer with the City in a timely manner on the anticipated changes. The commitment will not prevent the APOA from submitting the changes for negotiations when the parties negotiate a successor collective bargaining agreement.”

TERMS TO BE NEGOTIATED

The city should declare impasse with the police union on 3 major terms in the union contract:

1. State law is clear when it says “Public employees, other than management employees … may … join or assist a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining.” (10-7E-5 , NMSA 1978) APD Lieutenants and Sergeants are management positions, and for that reason they need to be removed from the union collective bargaining unit and made at will employees.

2. State law is clear that the rights of the city as an employer include “ direct the work of, hire, promote, assign, transfer, demote, suspend, discharge or terminate public employees.” (10-7E-6 A NMSA, 1978) The city needs to negotiate terms and conditions allowing the APD Chief to “immediately terminate for cause” under negotiated circumstance, with the immediate terminations subject to appeal to the personnel board for affirmation of termination or reinstatement of employment.

3. Replace hourly wage with salary structure and abolish all hourly pay, time and a half pay, longevity pay and all overtime pay programs.

Following is analysis and commentary on all 3 terms subject to “impasse”:

1. APD POLICE UNION CONTRACT VIOLATES STATE LAW ALLOWING MANAGEMENT POSITIONS OF LIEUTENANTS AND SERGEANTS INTO BARGAINING UNIT

For the last 6 years the APOA Union has been a party to the federal court litigation. As a result, Federal Judge James Browning has “personal jurisdiction” over the union. Federal Judge Browning therefore has the authority to review the police union contract and determine if it conforms to or violates New Mexico State Law.

New Mexico State law is very clear when it says “Public employees, other than management employees … may … join or assist a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining.” (10-7E-5 , NMSA 1978) APD Lieutenants and Sergeants are management employees because of their titles, duties and responsibilities over subordinates. Lieutenants and Sergeants need to be removed from the union collective bargaining unit by the Federal Court making them at will employees.

APD is a “para-military” organization and as such the “chain of command” must be honored and the lines of authority must not be blurred to the point where management and subordinates become one and the same for the purpose of enforcing policy. Allowing management positions to be part of employee bargaining unit is a recipe for disaster, which is exactly what has played out with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement (CASA) for the last 6 years.

Sergeants and lieutenants need to be made at will employees and removed from the collective bargaining unit in order to comply with state law that prohibits APD management to join the police union. This will result in a real buy in to management’s goals of police reform and the CASA. APD Police sergeants and lieutenants cannot serve two masters of Administration Management and Union priorities that are in conflict when it comes to the CASA reforms.

At a very minimum, the City and the Department of Justice need to move for the dismissal of the police union from the federal court proceeding. This will allow APD command staff and management more authority do its job with enforcement of the CASA mandates and implementation of all 271 reforms.

2. AUTHORIZE POLICE CHIEF TO IMMEDIATELY TEMINATE WITH CAUSE

One APD union contract term that is long overdue to be negotiated is to give the APD Police Chief authority to immediately “terminate for cause and without any delay” sworn police who are members of the police union for incidents and conduct that clearly violate APD standard operating procedures and violate civil rights and the use of deadly force.

When it comes to the APD police union contract, the City of Albuquerque has bargained away too many of its rights provided for in Section 10-7E-6 of the New Mexico Public Employees Bargaining Act to “direct the work of, hire, promote, assign, transfer, demote, suspend, discharge or terminate” police officers. The prohibition and inability for a police chief to discharge or terminate police officers who have clearly violated people’s civil rights and used excessive force and deadly force helped create the “culture of aggression” found by the DOJ in its investigation of APD.

APD police credibility with the general public is highly questioned when the city and its Chief fail take decisive personnel action in incidents such as the shooting of homeless camper James Boyde. When there is an extensive delay in such terminations, the public perception is that the Police Chief is covering up for APD and one of his officers. A Chief must be given the management authority that come with the title of chief and the authority to remove a police officer who has disgraced the badge with apparent and obvious civil rights violations and “excessive use of force” and “deadly force.”

As a condition of employment, police union members should be subject to immediate “termination for cause and without any delay” for incidents and conduct that are clearly a violation APD standard operating procedures and violations of civil rights as found by the Chief of Police. The union contract can define and outline circumstances and situations the Chief can immediately terminate with cause a member of the union. Immediate terminations by the Chief would be subject to appeal and due process before the City’s Personnel Board for affirmation of the termination or reinstatement of the officer.

The city and police union can negotiate and outline specific instances where immediate termination would be justified and allowed. Examples of conduct or incidents meriting immediate dismissal would be those captured by APD police lapel camera video or citizen cell phones reflecting excessive use of force and deadly force. Another reason for immediate termination would be insubordination and a finding by the Chief of deliberate resistance to the CASA reforms.

3. ABOLISH HOURLY PAY, LONGEVITY PAY, AND ALL OVERTIME PAY PROGRAMS AND NEGOTIATE A PAID SALARY STRUCTURE.

Albuquerque police officers are some of the best paid law enforcement in the country when you take into account their pay, longevity pay incentives, benefits and retirement pay. The average city hall salary for classified city employees is $30,000 to $35,000 a year. The entry level pay for Albuquerque patrolman first class is $58,000 a year.

APD is being investigated by the New Mexico attorney general and state auditor for overtime pay abuse after it was revealed that a number of APD police officers were paid in excess of $100,000 in overtime in addition to their hourly pay. Excessive overtime paid is a red flag for abuse of the system and proof of police resource mismanagement. The overtime gaming system must be stopped.

EXTENT OF THE PROBLEM

In 2019 there were 160 of the 250 top paid city hall employees that were police paid between $107,885.47 to $193,666.40.

There were 32 APD Lieutenants in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $108,031 to $164,722. Hourly pay rate for APD Lieutenants is $40.00 an hour or $83,200 yearly. Lieutenants are classified employee and are permitted to be part of the police union and as such are entitled to be paid time and a half for overtime worked under the union contract.

There were 32 APD Sergeants in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $109,292 to $193,666. Hourly pay rate for APD Sergeants is $35 an hour, or $72,800 a year. Sergeants positions are classified employee and are permitted to be part of the police union and as such are entitled to be paid time and a half for overtime worked under the union contract.

There were 70 APD patrol officers first class, master, senior in the list of 250 top paid employees in 2019 earning pay ranging from $108,167 to $188,844. Hourly pay rate for Patrol Officers is $29.00 an hour to $31.50 an hour depending upon years of experience. These positions are classified employee and are permitted to be part of the police union and are paid time and a half for overtime worked under the union contract.

There are nearly a dozen different types of overtime programs within the APD. The categories where APD Officers can earn overtime include holiday work, tac-plan initiatives, training, call outs, calls for service, special events, administrative work, investigations, and court appearances. DWI check points and special events like the Balloon Fiesta and security detail for high profile dignitary visits are all events that require an extensive amount of overtime. The police union contract entitles a police officer to be paid “time and a half” when overtime is worked on any given day or week.

SOLUTION TO OVERTIME ABUSE

One guaranteed way of stopping anyone within APD from gaming the system is to abolish the existing system of overtime pay and bonus pay. Sooner rather than later, the city and the APD union need to recognize that being a police officer is not trade work justifying hourly wages, but a learned profession that requires employees to work whatever time is necessary to get a day’s work done that may arise in that day. APD police can be compensated with a decent salary and not merely paid hourly wages.

A complete restructuring of the existing APD 40-hour work week and hourly wage system needs to be implemented. As an alternative to paying overtime and longevity bonus pay to APD officers, the city needs do away with APD hourly wages and time-and-a-half for overtime and implement a salary structure based strictly on steps and years of service.

A base salary system for all sworn police officers should be implemented with step increases for length of service. The longevity bonus pay would be eliminated and built into the salary structure. Mandatory shift time to work would remain the same. If more time is needed to complete a workload or assignments for the day, the salaried police officer would work it for the same salary with no overtime paid and a modification of shift times for court appearances. Officers would have control over time worked.

APD Patrol Officers First Class who handle DWI during nighttime shifts should be required to change their shift times to daytime shifts when the arraignments and trials occur to prevent overtime pay. As an alternative to DWI arraignment, the City Attorney’s Office should explore the possibility of expanding or modifying the Metro Traffic Arraignment Program with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office assisting to include not just traffic citations but DWI arraignments to eliminate the need for APD officers to appear.

Until the APD salary structure is changed, APD will always have Patrol Officers First Class making two, three and even four times their base salary, and emotional burnout will be the norm, not the exception endangering public safety. Until the APD salary structure is changed, you will also have more than a few employees “gaming the system.”

It’s the taxpayer and other city employees who are getting hurt when APD exceeds its budget by the millions and when APD management does not really care about anyone else but APD. When APD exceeds its overtime pay budget, the money has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is usually other city departments affecting other city employees. The mayor, APD management and City Council are being foolish if they do not realize that when APD exceeds its overtime budget, it causes morale issues and resentment within other city departments and employees who are not paid overtime.

FINAL COMMENTARY

The Police Union no doubt wants to continue the terms of the expired contract, including who is in the collective bargaining unit and drag out all disciplinary actions as long as possible. The union policy as embodied in the union contract allows the union to defend its membership and preserve its membership’s employment rights, even under circumstances when officer conduct is clearly a violation of standard operating procedures, civil rights and the unconstitutional use of excessive use of force and deadly force.

The delayed implementation and interference of the mandated 271 reforms by the union has gone on long enough and the time has come for the City and the DOJ to take aggressive action.

There is no real excuse to delay negotiations on the police union contract, even during a pandemic when negotiations can be done virtually. Delay will only allow the Union to continue dictating to the city what should be done and continue its efforts to obstruct implementation of the police reforms under the CASA.

The link to a related blog article entitled “Alan Wagman Guest Column: After 6 Years, Millions Spent, The DOJ, APD, City, Mayor Keller All Continue To Fail At APD Reforms; The Only Hope Lies With Federal Judge James Browning” is here:

Alan Wagman Guest Column: After 6 Years, Millions Spent, The DOJ, APD, City, Mayor Keller All Continue To Fail At APD Reforms; The Only Hope Lies With Federal Judge James Browning

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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.