Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monitoring The Monitor And APD: Councilors Left Out In Cold Get Suggestion, Plus: Quiet BernCo Commissioner Gets Noise Over Assistant 

Federal Monitor Ginger
Now that the often sleepy ABQ city council has been roused by Councilors Dan Lewis and Garduño more readers are also asking what exactly the city is going to be getting for the millions headed out the door in the name of police reform. Here's reader Alan Wagman with a suggestion for those councilors who feel they are being wrongfully denied a seat at the expensive police reform table:

City Council needs truly expert, professional assistance to properly evaluate APD and mayoral efforts and claims concerning APD reform. This especially would include evaluation of whether the triangle of the Dept. of Justice, Federal Monitor Ginger and APD is accomplishing anything. Ginger is collecting $4.5 million for four years (it could go much higher). Chief Eden created 3 APD top-level command positions a year ago, at a combined annual salary of over $300,000, claiming that the three commanders were needed to implement reforms. What reforms have we gotten for the more than $300,000 already spent? Surely, if the city can afford millions to deal with the damage done by an out of control police department, the city can afford to allow City Council a budget to hire professional staff to provide real insight into whether the city’s millions are being used productively or wasted.

The city council did not insist on a larger role in the settlement agreement reached between the city and Justice and it's coming back to haunt them. They must approve the millions in reforms but have little or no say over what's going on. That's nice for the Federal Monitor who simply has to deal with a sympathetic mayor and on occasion a federal judge. But--in the view of reader Wagman and others--it's not so nice for aggressive oversight of the mayor and the monitor. Maybe someone should start collecting resumes for the position of Monitor for the Council?


Low key Republican BernCo Commissionr Lonnie Talbert is expected to seek re-election to his ABQ NE Heights district next year. While Talbert--favored for his re-elect--has been relatively quiet, some noise has developed over his $54,000 a year commission assistant:

On a regular basis, Noelle Sauer gets to the office after 9 a.m., puts in a few hours and leaves. . . The week of October 20 through the 24 of 2014, Sauer put in an 18-and-a-half hours. She was paid for another 40 hours. The week of July 21 through the 25 last year, Sauer was in the office a little more than 11 hours and collected pay for 40 hours. Her boss, Commissioner Talbert, is confident Sauer works at least 40 hours a week. Talbert said she is not in the office form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. because she is out in the district attending meetings and talking to constituents. “Those 40 hours in the system are simply for payroll…she’s not paid by the hour,” Talbert said. “She’s a salaried employee that gets paid the same no matter how many hours she works. . .Hey, trust me that I’m watching what she’s doing, I know what she’s doing.

One of our Alligators says since that report Sauer is now seen more frequently at the office. Still, Michael Wiener, who was ousted from the county commission when Talbert beat him in the 2012 Republican primary, could not resist taking a jab: "I would just point out that Lonnie campaigned an awful lot on honesty and integrity, needled Weiner who says he has no plans for a political comeback.

The Talbert district is solid R. The GOP primary is in June of next year.

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