Sergeant Paul Heh's motion to re-vote on the narrowly passed APOA - City of Albuquerque contract has failed. The final vote was 81 for a re-vote and 192 against.
Our Eyes tell us that probationary officers were allowed to vote... again. But with over a 100 vote margin our guess is that those in favor of the new contract would have carried the day anyway.
It remains to be seen if the original vote and tonight's vote that included probationary officers was legal under the organization's bylaws. There also seems to be language in the contract that says that the "City of Albuquerque recognizes the APOA as the exclusive bargaining agent for the permanent full-time non-probationary sworn police officers through the rank of captain." Tonight's vote included probationary officers who are not technically covered by the contract so their participation in the voting process could be considered inappropriate. That's certainly an argument that could be made if senior officers choose to take the matter to court.
Ultimately we don't know what will happen. There's a motion on the floor to authorize the expenditure of union funds to pay for an attorney to file an unfair labor practices suit against the union... as if that has any chance of passing. There's also talk of supervisors leaving the APOA.
We don't believe that any of this is good for the officers of APD and in the long run we're concerned that we won't be able to recruit fast enough to make up for trained officers leaving for more profitable jobs in other jurisdictions. None of this is good for those of us who make Albuquerque home.
We don't blame the junior officer of the department. They're doing what they think is best for their careers and families. They are getting paid now and there's a really good argument that they should. Our hope is that we will be able to retain them once their ability to climb through the ranks tops out. After all there are only so many sergeants, so many lieutenants, ands so many commanders positions available.
For the next three years it looks as if this is the contract they will have to live with and do so by their own choice. We truly hope that the rank and file can come together under this new contract and both sides stand to learn from the experience. We know that the professionals working in the Albuquerque Police Department will always do their jobs as they always have... with honor and integrity.