We haven't seen the legislation that the mayor is proposing but according to today's article one of the positions targeted is the city clerk. The Almighty One seems to believe that the clerk needs more autonomy from the mayor and believe it or not we'd agree. (Brief pause for you to recover from shock...)
The only problem is that from what we've read, Albuquerque's city clerk would be as protected as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. The clerk should not be a lifetime appointment subject to removal only for cause. To do so would only benefit one person - the person who currently holds the throne on the 11th floor and the person who would choose our next city clerk.
When you get right down to it, making the city clerk more autonomous does very little despite their role in handing out taxpayer cash to unelected candidates for city office. (Hell, that money is already being misused.) There is however one position that needs to be more independent - one that's vital to our safety and security and one that politics should have no influence over. That position is Chief of Police.
As we've said before, the Chief is an at will employee of the mayor. He gets his orders from and owes his allegiance to the man who sits astride the mayoral throne. If the chief was an elected position or protected in the way that The Almighty One proposes to protect the clerk, the chief's main concern would be enforcing the law not protecting his or the mayor's uh... postierior.
(Sidebar)May must be the month when Mayor Chavez holds his good government press conferences. Last May the topic was "Open Government" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). This May we're talking about "Ethics in Government" (ABQ Journal - Subscription). So, exactly how much more open is city government anyway? Do you really see any difference between this year and last?
We know that law enforcement is a novel concept for those of you occupying offices on the 5th floor, but believe us - that is what you are being paid to do.
Since his last press conference on government, the Chavez administration has been caught inflating the success of the red light scam-era program (read it here), lying about the number of police officers over at APD (read it here), gassing us with his "overstated" greenhouse gas emissions (ABQ Journal - Subscription), and fibbing about the improvements over at Animal Control (read it here). All of which is unethical and in just the past year!
The Almighty Alcalde doesn't seem to have even a passing familiarity with the truth much less the more elusive concept of ethics. And remember, this is the same mayor that used a political action committee called ABQPAC as his own personal $60,000 slush fund (read it here and here).
It's quite frankly laughable that Mayor Chavez - of all people - should propose any kind of ethics reform or open government for that matter. His track record shows a repeated willingness to ignore the truth or hide it when it suits him and seek retribution when someone crosses him. Integrity is what you do when no one is looking. The Almighty Alcalde has proved time and again that he'll do whatever he pleases unless someone has an Eye on him.
----- Update -----
Our keyboard hadn't cooled from the above post before we found more evidence of Marty's ethically challenged behavior on the blog ClearlyNewMexico.com [hat tip: Heath Haussamen]. Clearly New Mexico is surely a blog that is shall we say... left of center but they've hired a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist in Eileen Welsome who does a bang-up job exposing the "special relationship" between The Almighty One and convicted DCSW architect Marc Schiff.
If you remember, Schiff plead guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud in connection with the Manny Aragon courthouse scandal. As it turns out, Schiff was also involved in the drawn out Balloon Fiesta Museum project that spanned from Marty's first term through his second.
Was Schiff skimming the Balloon Fiesta project before getting his hands caught in the Metro Court honey jar? Who knows... but the Mayor's special friend is now incarcerated for fraud while the mayor plays at ethics reform. Now THAT's funny!
(Read the Haussamen post here and the Clearly New Mexico post here.)
----- Correction -----
The first sentence pf this post originally read "after 11 years in office..." While it may seem like 13 years or longer the Almighty Alcalde has served two full terms and is actually in the last year and a half of his 3rd term. That makes this year his 11th year in office. Our error has been corrected above.