Republican City Council Dan Lewis and Democrat Louie Sanchez with their antics and votes have become the “Twiddle Dee” and the “Twiddle Dum” of the Albuquerque City Council. They have replaced Isaac Benton and Pat Davis in Keller’s Democratic “Burque Wonderland”.
This blog article is an in-depth report on the status of the legislation and other goings on of Republican Dan Lewis and his Democrat In Name Only colleague Louie Sanchez.
CITY COUNCIL CONSERVATIVE ALIGNMENT
After the December 7, City Council runoff election, the city council is split 5 Democrats to 4 Republicans, but ideology split 5 conservatives to 3 progressives and one moderate. The breakdown by name is as follows:
District 1 Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez
District 2 Progressive Democrat Isaac Benton
District 3 Moderate Democrat Klarissa Peña
District 6 Progressive Democrat Pat Davis
District 7 Progressive Democrat Tammy Fiebelkorn
District 5 Conservative Republican Dan Lewis
District 4 Conservative Republican Brook Bassan
District 8 Conservative Republican Trudy Jones
District 9 Conservative Republican Renee Grout
Although the City Council is split 5 Democrats and 4 Republicans, Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez has allied himself with Conservative Republicans Dan Lewis and Renee Grout with all 3 pledging to hold Mayor Tim Keller and his administration accountable for their actions. Prior to being sworn in for a third term on January 1, 2022, Republican City Councilor Dan Lewis declared he would be the next city council President.
On January 10, at the very first meeting of the city council, Lewis failed in his bid to become city council President losing to Democrat Isaac Benton. Notwithstanding his loss as council President, Dan Lewis introduced 4 resolutions designed to carry out his threat and personal vendetta to hold the Keller Administration accountable for what he perceives has been bad policy.
Now considered by many as Democrat In Name Only, District 1 Conservative Democrat Louie Sanchez has aligned himself extensively with Dan Lewis on major votes and has conducted his own personal vendetta against Keller appointees. Sanchez has supported Republican efforts to set back and obstruct progressive policies accomplished over the past 4 years and you can expect more over the next 4 years.
STATUS ON LEWIS SPONSORED LEGISLATION
On January 10, at the very first meeting of the new Albuquerque City Council, newly sworn in District 5 Republican Dan Lewis announced the introduction of 4 major resolutions he is sponsored . The resolutions are summarized and how they have fared are as follows:
A RESOLUTION REPEAL OR LIMITING MAYORAL AUTHORITY DURING A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic when Democrats had a 6 to 4 majority, the council expanded the Mayor’s authority during a public health crisis. On March 10, 2022, the Albuquerque City Council voted to narrowly reverse the City Councils 2020 action. The Council passed legislation on a 5 to 4 vote, with Republican Councilors, Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and lone Democrat Louie Sanchez voting in support and all 4 remaining Democrats voting no.
The council voted to revoke Mayor Tim Keller’s power to do such things as ordering closures of streets or places of mass gatherings, canceling city events and reallocating up to $1 million in the city budget. Under the enacted ordinance, the Mayor was relegated only with the ability to merely make “advisories and recommendations.” Councilor Dan Lewis proposed the changes, saying Keller had hardly invoked his powers and mostly deferred to orders issued by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration. Keller’s Chief Operating Officer Lawrence Rael opposed the change saying the administration had used the newly revoked procurement flexibility and needed the ability to move quickly.
Keller ultimately vetoed the legislation. Overriding a mayoral veto takes 6 votes, but only 5 councilors supported the override during the March 21 city council meeting and they were Republicans Bassan, Grout, Jones, Lewis and Democrat Sanchez.
Keller argued in his veto message that the public health emergency powers allowed his administration to take “innumerable actions … to protect the residents and employees of the City.” He cited emergency leases with the hotels that the city used to quarantine first responders exposed to the virus and to shelter people who are homeless, the expeditious purchase of personal protective equipment, and more. In his veto message Keller wrote:
“There is ample evidence that civil emergency powers were effective and are needed.”
A RESOLUTION BARING THE CITY FROM MANDATING COVID-19 VACCINES FOR THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE
Lewis initially said the bill answered concerns from police officers and firefighters. It is well settled law that private business can impose vaccine mandates to protect their workforce and the public they interact with. The city is no different. Unvaccinated police and fire officers can easily catch and spread the virus endangering public health, safety and welfare.
Notwithstanding, on March 21, the Council passed legislation on a 5 to 4 vote , with Republican Councilors, Dan Lewis, Brook Bassan, Renee Grout, Trudy Jones and lone Democrat Louie Sanchez voting in support and all 4 remaining Democrats voting no. The resolution bars the city from mandating that employees get the shot and from penalizing those who do not.
Lewis himself admitted the city could not control what the federal or state governments might ultimately require, but said the legislation would demonstrate that the local government itself would not impose a vaccine standard and he said:
“Our policy will not be to mandate vaccines on our city employees and would give them the peace of mind (that) they wouldn’t have to make a decision between taking a vaccine they may not want or need and their jobs.”
Democrats City Councilors Pat Davis, Isaac Benton, Tammy Fiebelkorn and Klarissa Peña voted in opposition, and rightly so saying the city should not cede its ability to regulate its workforce because the public relies heavily on services and having “the staff available to them.” Not requiring inoculation of city employees and then allowing those same city employees to deal with the general public no likely creates a liability issue for the city if a member of the public becomes infected with COVID by a city employee.
The anti-vaccine legislation for city employees was not needed. It was sponsored by Lewis for show and headline. Mayor Tim Keller had suggested a vaccine policy earlier this year, announcing in January his administration would roll out a vaccine-or-test requirement to comply with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules. Keller then backtracked after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked those OSHA rules. Keller could veto the legislation, and 6 votes would be needed to override the veto. A veto override is not likely given the 4 democrats who voted no.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
A RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE CITY ADMINISTRATION TO CONSIDER AND “TO THE EXTENT ADVISABLE,” PUSH TO RENEGOTIATE THE TERMS OF THE FEDERAL COURT APPROVED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT (CASA)
On March 10, 2022 the Albuquerque City Council passed a resolution directing city officials “to the extent advisable” to “petition” to reopen and renegotiate the Court Approved Settlement Agreement mandating the reforms of the Albuquerque Police Department. The council resolution passed on an 8-to-1 vote with City Councilor Tammy Fiebelkorn the only councilor to vote against the resolution.
The city council resolution says the “petition” should address recommendations contained in a released by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on September 13, 2021, including putting a cap on how much an independent monitor overseeing court-mandated reforms can be paid and assessing ending the monitorship after 5 years. The problem is the Garland recommendations apply to future consent decrees and have no binding effect on the City’s Court approved settlement agreement.
The settlement mandates 271 reforms of APD after a federal investigation found that APD engaged in a pattern of excessive use of force and deadly force and had a “culture of aggression.” Lewis was on the city council when the settlement was negotiated and he failed in his oversight of APD as APD deteriorated.
The resolution enacted by the city council for the city to renegotiate “to the extent advisable” the Court Approved Settlement Agreement is a reflection of sure ignorance on the part of the City Council and the reforms mandated. It is the epitome of meaningless fluff. It reflects that the city council does not have a basic understanding of the court process nor the true meaning of a federal court order.
During the March 10 council meeting, City attorneys would not answer questions about the process to renegotiate the agreement and what factors are being considered. Instead, all questions were referred to APD. The fact that the City Attorney would not answer any questions about the process to renegotiate the settlement agreement and what factors can be considered at best was an ignorance of the practice of law on the part of the city attorney office and at worst legal malpractice for the city attorney’s failure to properly advise its client the City Council.
Chief Medina either made it up or lied when he told the city council that he had been “assured by the Federal Monitor” that the next report on APD’s progress would be different than recent ones and not as harshly critical of the department’s progress. The Federal Monitor is an officer of the court, does not and cannot report to Medina and as such cannot give any such assurances.
The Federal Monitor must follow the evidence dealing with compliance levels. Chief Medina’s comment “I want to keep all options on the table” likewise is laughable. Medina has no options at this point in time other than bringing his department into compliance with the settlement terms and conditions.
Simply put, there is nothing to negotiate. The city and the DOJ entered into a binding court order settlement agreement on what APD needs to do to come into compliance before the case can be dismissed. Because the settlement is a court approved order, any and all changes, even if agreed to by the Department of Justice and the city, must be approved by the Federal Judge.
DAN LEWIS PRIOR FAILURE OF APD OVERSIGHT
The Albuquerque City Council plays a crucial oversight role of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) including controlling its budget. Dan Lewis did nothing when he was on the city council before when it comes to Albuquerque Police Department (APD)reforms. Lewis never challenged the Republican Berry Administration nor the APD command staff in public in any meaningful way demanding compliance with the Department of Justice (DOJ) consent decree reforms. Each time the Federal Court appointed Monitor presented his critical reports of APD to the City Council, Lewis remained silent. Lewis declined to demand accountability from Mayor Berry and hold the APD command staff responsible for dragging their feet on the reforms.
When Federal Monitor James Ginger made a presentation to a city council committee Lewis was presiding over, then City Council President Dan Lewis asked Dr. Ginger “Who is ultimately responsible for failure to implement the reforms an overseeing APD?” When Ginger said “The City Council” Lewis snorted and chortled uncomfortably with other counselors with a stupid expression of disbelief on his face.
Lewis often likes to take credit for bringing the DOJ to the city with his sponsorship of a resolution enacted by the City Council. The truth is Lewis had very little to do with it or nothing at all to bring the Department of Justice to the city.
The DOJ came to the city because minority community stakeholders who had been victimized by APD and lobbied aggressively and effectively to get the DOJ to come to the city. Even as a City Councilor, Lewis did not attend a single federal court hearing on the Federal Monitor’s reports to find out what APD’s position was on the monitor’s reports.
SUBSTITUTE RESOLUTION TO REPEAL 3/8 OF 1% GROSS RECEIPTS TAX ENACTED 4 YEARS AGO
Councilor Dan Lewis has introduced a substitute resolution calling for the repeal of a 3/8 of 1% gross receipts tax increase the city implemented four years ago. The original resolution was to repeal the entire quarter cent tax enacted 4 years ago by the council. The Lewis substitute tax resolution would cut the tax to 1/4 of 1%. That would effectively save consumers 10 cents for every $100 spent on most goods and services.
Least anyone forget, 4 years ago Mayor Tim Keller signed off on the tax that was primarily dedicated to public safety breaking a campaign pledge not to raise taxes without a public vote, even for public safety. The tax was enacted 4 years ago on 8-1 bipartisan vote as the city was facing a 40 million deficit and severe budget cuts.
Keller made the pledge not to raise taxes unless voted on during a debate for Mayor with Dan Lewis. The council’s 2018 tax required that the city spend at least 60% of tax proceeds on public safety and that expired two years ago. Keller won the 2017 runoff against Lewis by a decisive landslide by securing 60,219 votes or 62.20% against Dan Lewis who secured 36,594 or 37.8% of the vote.
The tax repeal would have an estimated collective impact of about $22 million to $24 million a year. Lewis argues that the money is not needed. Tax revenues have been climbing dramatically, so the tax initiated in 2018 could still bring in nearly as much money as it did then even by reducing the percentage. Lewis served a full 8 years on the counsel before the tax was enacted and voted to cut spending and budgets, including police, to avoid tax increases which were needed to avoid deficits.
The Keller Administration for its part has said that it is not the time to cut taxes. The Keller administration told a city council finance committee that the city recently signed off on a new police union contract that raises police officer salaries significantly with 8% raises which will increase the city’s annual police department costs by $12.8 million. Further, inflation is increasing as is gas prices and the city will have to deal with both within a few months. Inflation will affect everything from construction projects to labor, and higher gas prices are in store for usage of the city’s fleet of vehicles, including police units and fire emergency units.
On February 7, it was reported City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis filed a competing tax bill that would keep the tax intact, but designate it for specific purposes. Under the Benton-Davis bill 60% of the tax collected would go to public safety and 40% for affordable housing. Davis said the legislation is not a direct response to Lewis’ January tax-cut proposal, but rather the result of conversations going back to last year. Davis said the proposal aligns with the tax’s original intent, when the council passed the increase in 2018 and it required that at least 60% of the receipts go to public safety. That stipulation expired after two years.
Both tax bills are still pending before the city council. Notwithstanding, city hall observers’ belief that Democrat Louis Sanchez will support the Republican Lewis tax repeal, joining the 4 Republicans, over the tax bill sponsored by Democrats Benson and Davis.
REPEAL OF PLASTIC BAG BAN RESULTS IN VETO
In 2019, the City Council passed the Albuquerque Clean & Green Retail Ordinance ordinance making it illegal for grocers and other stores to distribute single-use plastic bags at checkout. The ban was to start January 1, 2020 but Mayor temporarily suspended the ban early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Keller reinstated the enforcement of the ordinance.
On March 7, 2022, the City Council voted 6-3 to repeal the Clean & Green Retail Ordinance. The vote came over very vocal opposition from members of the public who spoke during the meeting. Many called it a step backward and questioned why the Council was making a decision before the city completed its ongoing study into the ban’s impact or why leaders were reconsidering it at all given the city’s other pressing concerns like crime and homelessness.
Republican Councilor Brook Bassan, who sponsored the repeal bill, said Albuquerque residents should be able to use plastic bags if they want and said:
“People should have the choice of what they want to do; people should have the option to decide what’s best for them.”
If you follow Bassan’s argument to a logical conclusion, she must also believe you should have the choice to dispose of your car’s “oil change” oil in your backyard, buy cancer causing weed killers and even buy fireworks at the height of the fire season.
Republican City Councilors Dan Lewis, Renee Grout, Brook Bassan and Trudy Jones voted along with Democrats Louie Sanchez and Klarissa Peña to repeal. Democrats Isaac Benton, Pat Davis and Tammy Fiebelkorn voted against the repeal.
On Friday, March 29, Mayor Keller vetoed the City Council’s repeal of the Albuquerque Clean & Green Retail Ordinance. Keller’s veto forces the matter back onto the council’s next agenda. It will take 6 votes to override the veto and preserving the ban. At least one councilor who voted to repeal must change their mind since the repeal passed 6-3. Keller addressed the likelihood of a veto override in his veto message saying:
“I write to you not taking lightly the Executive Veto power and also with the acknowledgment that this veto may not ultimately stand.”
In his veto message, Keller asks the city council to consider ways to improve the ordinance rather than “outright repeal”. Keller says the ordinance provides the Solid Waste Department the flexibility to make adjustments and said:
“For decades the dedicated staff at Solid Waste led the recycling efforts in New Mexico. The City of Albuquerque started curbside recycling in 2012, and the sustainable innovations that started at Solid Waste continue to this day.”
The links to quoted news sources are here:
OTHER OBSTRUCTIONIS ANTICS AND RESOLUTIONS
“Twiddle Dee” Lewis and “Twiddle Dum” Sanchez have been very active in other areas trying to prove dominance on the city council and to promote their personal agendas of vindictiveness.
DEMANDING TO CONFIRM THOSE ALREADY CONFIRMED TO CARRY OUT PERSONAL VENDETTA
Mayor Tim Keller was sworn in for his second term on January 1. Mayor Keller chose not to replace Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael, City Clerk Ethan Watson, City Attorney Esteban Aguilar, APD Chief Harold Medina and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Chief Gene Gallegos. All 6 of Keller’s top executives continued to do their jobs after Keller was sworn in. The council confirmed all 6 during Keller’s first term and each was approved by a unanimous vote.
City Councilors Republican Dan Lewis and Democrat Louis Sanchez were also sworn in on January 1st . Within weeks after Lewis and Sanchez were sworn in, they began to demand that Mayor Tim Keller again nominate Nair, Rael, Watson, Aguilar, Medina and Gallegos so they could hold confirmation hearings and be allowed to vote to reject them for the positions they held. The councilors say the City Charter requires a fresh confirmation in a mayor’s new term.
The City Charter requires the council’s “advice and consent” for just a few positions the mayor appoints. Those positions are Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) , Deputy CAOs, Police Chief, Fire Chief, City Clerk and City Attorney. The City Charter provides that appointees requiring city council approval “shall be presented to the Council for confirmation within 45 days after the Mayor takes office.” The City Charter contains no provisions mandating that the Mayor nominate his top ranking executives a second time so that a newly elected city councilor can confirm.
City Council President Isaac Benton has gone along with Lewis and Sanchez saying the confirmation dispute is worth pursuing as he believes voters who approved the initial City Charter and subsequent amendments sought to vest the council with the authority to help determine who holds some of the municipal government’s key jobs. Benton had this to say:
“We are supposed to be [the balance of power] – a separate, but equal part of the city government.”
Mayor Keller disputed the city council’s right to another confirmation vote, but forwarded City Clerk Ethan Watson and City Attorney Esteban Aguilar Jr., for another vote. Both have held the roles since Keller’s first term and previously went through council confirmation. Keller said the charter differentiates the clerk and attorney from the other positions, specifically stating that the clerk and attorney appointments “shall be for a term that coincides and terminates with the term of the Mayor making the appointment.” It does not use the same language for the other positions.
In the interest of compromise, Mayor Keller forwarded the names of Chief Administrative Officer Sarita Nair, Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael, APD Chief Harold Medina and Albuquerque Fire and Rescue Chief Gene Gallegos in the form of an “executive communication” that required that they all be confirmed with a single vote, not separate votes and as a “package deal”.
On March 11, Mayor Tim Keller announced in a statement that Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Sarita Nair resigned her position. Nair has been the city’s chief administrative officer since late 2017 when she was confirmed by a unanimous city council vote. No reasons were given for her sudden resignation and the city and Nair declined all requests to interview CAO Nair.
A city spokesman did say that Nair’s name being submitted for another confirmation vote had nothing to do with her resignation. Confidential sources have said that Sarita Nair did not have the confidence and support of Democrat City Councilors Isaac Benton and Pat Davis. When you add Republican’s Dan Lewis and Renee Grout and “Democrat In Name Only” Louis Sanchez to the mix, it’s likely that CAO Sarita Nair would not have been confirmed.
City Councilor Dan Lewis had this to say about his demand that all the names be submitted a second time:
“I’m going to always defend the authority of the council, and any authority that has been given to it by the charter and the people of the city.”
Dan Lewis was elected to the city council for a second term in 2013, the same year that Replican Mayor Richard Berry was elected to a second term. Republican Mayor Berry did not submit relevant reappointments for confirmation a second time, despite a request from then-council President Ken Sanchez to do so. Not at all surprising Dan Lewis kept his big mouth shut then and did not “defend the authority of the council” and said nothing at the time no doubt because it was a Republican Mayor that he needed to curry favor with but now he says something because he is dealing with a Mayor that beat him in a runoff in 2017.
CONFIRMATION HEARINGS USED TO INTIMDATE AND SHAME
It became painfully obvious that the only reason “Twiddle Dee” Lewis and “Twiddle Dum” Sanchez demanded Keller’s top executives previously confirmed be re submitted for a second time for confirmation was to try and shame and intimate them and to vote against them.
On March 7, City Clerk Ethan Watson was confirmed on a 7-2 bipartisan vote of the city council. “Twiddle Dee” Lewis and “Twiddle Dum” Sanchez crossed examined Watson over his job performance during the 2021 municipal election. Both Lewis and Sanchez questioned Watson’s impartiality in administering the city’s taxpayer-funded public campaign finance system, ignoring the fact that Watson is license attorney and as such an officer of the court who has taken an oath of office himself.
Lewis focused on Watson’s move to reject mayoral candidate Manuel Gonzales’ application for the money on the grounds he’d submitted fraudulent documentation, questioning if he’d applied the same scrutiny to Keller’s campaign. Lewis ignored that a state judge ultimately upheld Watson’s decision. Lewis at one point became very condensing and mean spirited when he asked Watson “how we can trust you moving forward in future elections?”. This coming from Dan Lewis who engaged in smear tactics and lies against his opponent incumbent Democrat Cynthia Borrego to get elected saying she was in favor of “sanctuary city polices” and the releasing of violent criminals. Dan Lewis paid Republican Political Operative Jay McClusky to run his campaign.
Not at all surprisingly, Sanchez claimed his own 2021 city council campaign race against incumbent Lan Sena was treated unfairly by Ethan Watson, even though Sanchez won the race. It was Sanchez who proclaimed he was the rightful city councilor to have been elected and demanded that Watson swear him in before the term he was elected began on January 1, 2022. Sanchez wanted to vote against legislation that was pending and sponsored by outgoing City Councilor Lan Sena and his demands were essentially an effort to shame former City Councilor Lan Sena.
The link to quoted news source material is here:
SANCHEZ’ GETS A NASTY PUSH BACK FROM APD CHIEF HAROLD MEDINA
According to a March 14, 2021 KRQE News 13 Investigative report, over the course of one year, APD Lieutenant Jim Edison was paid $242,758 which consisted of a base pay and overtime pay. To put this staggering amount into perspective, hourly based pay for APD Lieutenants in 2020 and 2021 was $40 an hour or $83,200 a year. In other words, Edison was paid $159,558 in overtime in addition to his $83,200 base pay resulting in $242,758 paid in the one year reviewed. Edison was paid upwards of 3 times his base pay all because of overtime which is paid at the rate of time and a half.
APD sergeants and lieutenants, although management, are allowed to be members of the police union. Under the police union contract, they are required to work a 40-hour work week and are then are paid time and a half for all time reportedly worked over their 40 hour work week hours. Overtime pay must be approved in writing by supervising personnel and in advance where possible.
The March 14 KRQE News 13 Investigative report on the Lt. Edison overtime pay comes after 6 prior audits resulted in 17 findings and recommendation made to stop the overtime pay abuse. On October 26, 2020 the Internal Audit Department also released a performance audit that found over $400,000 paid in overtime to 4 police officers. The release audit found that 4 APD Officers claimed over 2,000 hours of paid overtime, paid at the rate of time and a half, during the fiscal year of July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020.
The 2021 special audit found there was an absolute failure by APD command staff to carry out and implement the changes needed to solve the overtime problem. The released audit also identified that certain APD police union contract terms and conditions are in violation of the Federal Labor Standards Act and that the police union contract has contributed significantly to the overtime pay abuse by rank-and-file police officers.
Deputy Chief Smathers was given a written reprimand and a one day suspension for his failure to oversee the timesheets of APD Lieutenant Jim Edison which resulted in $159,558 in overtime paid.
APD Police Chief Harold Medina bent over backwards to defend Deputy Chief Smathers saying the one-day suspension was appropriate. Medina had this to say:
“Up here on the fifth floor of the Police Department, the executive staff, we’re so busy that to go through the fine details of looking through somebody’s timesheets is not something that we’re going to be carving out time for. … Jim Edison deceived Deputy Chief Smathers and Deputy Chief Smathers took accountability for that and was disciplined.
The biggest thing that Deputy Chief Smathers did wrong is he had faith and belief in Jim Edison. Jim Edison betrayed that trust. And it’s very difficult for me to paint a negative brush on Deputy Chief Smathers for being a good leader, respecting his people, listening to his people and believing in his people.”
During the March 21 City Council meeting, the March 14 KRQE News 13 Investigative report on the Lt. Edison overtime pay abuse was brought up. City Councilor Louie Sanchez saw it as an opportunity to score some points and try and hold the Keller Administration accountable for its actions. APD Chief Harold Medina was not present. Sanchez had this to say:
“When I was a young police officer I was told your time sheet was the single most important item that you deal with as a police officer every single day of the week. . . That it needs to be accurate 100% percent. It’s a legal document so it has to be 100% accurate. . . The comment that we don’t have time for that [says] you don’t have time to do your job. So I need to get an explanation why we don’t have time to check timesheets. …”
APD Chief Harold Medina was not about to have any freshman City Councilor, even if he is a retired APD police officer, question his management of APD. On March 25, Medina went out of his way to write a letter to Councilor Sanchez, attaching it to a press release no less, that took issue with Sanchez’s comments and responding to the news report. Medina wrote Sanchez in part:
“I did not attend Monday’s City Council meeting, but I would like to take the opportunity to respond to the question you directed at me about a recent news story. …
First, Lt. Edison never worked in the Chief’s Office, as stated in the news story. Further, the statement attributed to me was a response to a question about Lt. Edison’s supervisor during his assignment. I made the point that Lt. Edison’s supervisor was a Deputy Chief, and not a Commander, which I determined to be problematic and fixed the problem. Commanders typically oversee lieutenants, including oversight of their overtime; whereas Deputy Chiefs oversee Commanders, who are exempt employees and do not earn overtime.
That is why I said Deputy Chiefs on my Executive Team should not be managing officers’ time sheets. The KRQE story fails to mention that when Lt. Edison was eventually put under the supervision of a Commander, that Commander scrutinized his timesheets and found discrepancies, which were reported up the chain of command and investigated.
In addition, I understand you mentioned that you learned as a young officer that your timesheet is the “single most important item that you deal with as a police officer.” I don’t disagree that you may have been told that. But I strongly disagree with that viewpoint.
Frankly, that approach to the job is the type of culture we have been changing since I have been Chief. I want officers to excel at investigations and produce effective criminal complaints that lead to the prosecution of criminals. Officers must be 100% accurate when they arrest suspects of violent crimes and take someone freedom away. A time sheet, while important to document an officer’s work, should not be an officer’s top priority.”
Medina’s letter to Sanchez and attaching it to a press release was an act of disrespect to an elected official and violates city council protocol. Medina should have asked to speak before the next city council meeting and answer whatever questions Sanchez has about the time sheet fraud and abuse and any other questions he may have about APD’s management.
When Medina tells Sanchez “I want officers to excel at investigations and produce effective criminal complaints that lead to the prosecution of criminals. Officers must be 100% accurate when they arrest suspects of violent crimes and take someone freedom away. A time sheet, while important to document an officer’s work, should not be an officer’s top priorty” Chief Medina is essentially saying to APD officers you can violate the law when it comes to overtime pay card fraud so long as you are enforcing the law and making arrests.
The blunt truth is that if Sanchez is genuinely concerned about APD overtime time card fraud and abuse, he needs to do more than ask questions of Medina to garner publicity. Sanchez as a retired APD Officer more likely than not actually witnessed or was aware of the years of overtime pay abuse by APD. Now that he is on the City Council, he can do far more than ask questions of a disrespectful APD Chief.
Sergeants and Lieutenants have proven time and time again, year after year, they are the biggest source of excessive and abusive overtime pay. Sanchez can demand removal of the management positions of Sergeants and Lieutenants from the collective bargaining unit making them at will and not allowed to claim overtime. On April 1, the Keller Administration will be releasing the 2022-2023 city budget. It is during the budget process that the council needs to ask the hard questions of APD and to get results when it comes to the overtime pay fraud and abuse.
The link to a related blog article is here:
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
Now that the 4 resolutions City Councilor Dan Lewis introduced have essentially made it through the city council with some limited success, especially with the help of City Councilor Sanchez, there is no doubt Lewis is on the “prowl” to scrounge up even more legislation to undercut both the Democratic majority and Democrat Mayor Tim Keller.
Four of the most likely resolutions that can be expected from Dan Lewis include the following:
1. A resolution advocating late term abortion prohibitions as was placed on the 2013 municipal ballot and which failed. Should Roe v. Wade in fact be overturned by the United States Supreme Court, which is expected in June, it is more likely than not right-wing Republicans Dan Lewis and Renee Grout will seek to have abortions outlawed within the city by declaring no licenses to do business within the city shall be issued to any health care provider corporation such as Planned Parenthood that offers late term abortions. Without a license to do business, the city planning department could order the closure of the business.
2. Repeal of the city’s immigration friendly policy that Dan Lewis and City Council Renees Grout falsely label as sanctuary city during the 2021 municipal election.
3. Opposition to or perhaps repeal of the city’s minimum wage ordinance.
4. Reduction in social service programs to help the homeless and the poor, including a scaling back of the Gateway Homeless shelter operations.
5. Advocate the reduction in the size of city government and eliminate new departments and programs created by Mayor Keller by denying funding for such Departments as the “Office of Equity and Inclusion” that deals with immigrant relations.
Dan Lewis has already made it known privately that he intends to run for Mayor again in 2025, perhaps again against Tim Keller. With that in mind, it is clear he intends to be as disruptive as possible on the city council in order to generate the news coverage he so covets. He will be very successful if Democrats like Louie Sanchez allow it to happen, unless of course Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb knock each other out by bumping into each other running to be in front of the news cameras.