The union negotiated for the president's salary when it reached a contract agreement with the city in 2008, and the city should honor it, Arencón said. The salary agreement is separate from the main union contract.But don't worry, back in December the members of IAFF 244 re-elected Diego to another term which means so he's still got access to the union credit card to pay for his coffee and trips to the local watering holes (read it here). What will be more interesting is whether or not the union membership will agree to pay for a lawsuit for the express purpose of getting Diego Commander's pay and out of having to do fight any fires.
Arencón said firefighters "absolutely" will consider going to court to enforce the salary agreement. Refusing to honor it will cost the city legal fees, even though mayoral executives know "full well that their accusations aren't justified."
The side agreement entered into by former Mayor and Not-So-Might Alcalde Martin Chavez was determined to be illegal by attorney and current CAO David Campbell.
In a memo to Arencón, Campbell said the salary agreement:
• Violates the anti-donation clause of the state constitution, which bars the city from providing a gift or aid to someone.
• Might violate state law making it a felony to use or accept public money for "services not rendered."
• Wasn't properly ratified.
• Violates the city's "Merit System Ordinance," which calls for employees to be paid according to a classification plan.
What we're wondering is how Campbell - an attorney - can determine that Arencón's little side deal with Marty is illegal when he's got an even bigger fish - Ed Adams - making a lot more over in Municipal Development.
An agreement signed in 2006, when Martin Chávez was mayor, says Adams can keep his $147,000 annual salary even if he's moved into a lower-level job.The legal arguments used by CAO David Campbell in the Arencón case look strikingly similar to the ones made by policy analyst and attorney Bruce Thompson on behalf of city council despite the opinion of one of Marty's Minions - City Attorney Bob White - that the Adams' deal "does contain the essential elements of an enforceable employment contract" (ABQ Journal - Subscription).
That's where the 2006 memo comes in. Bruce Perlman, Chávez's chief administrative officer at the time, signed a memorandum telling Adams his "rate of pay will be maintained" if he ever returned to a regular city job.
Thompson's eight-page opinion outlines some potential problems with [former CAO under Marty] Perlman's action:
• It probably violates the city's Merit System Ordinance for employees, which says regular "classified" employees should be paid according to a plan based on their rank and classification. It's not clear that a CAO can "ignore the MSO by issuing an administrative instruction" on someone's salary.
•An administrative instruction that apparently gave Perlman the right to determine Adams' salary came from Perlman himself and may not be valid. In any case, it's not clear whether Perlman complied with it.
• The Adams' salary agreement could be considered a "professional services" contract that requires City Council approval.
• The Adams' salary agreement may violate the anti-donation clause of the state constitution, which prohibits the city government from making gifts. Adams' salary guarantee could violate that clause if it's intended to reward him for past work, and not compensation for future services.
Then there's Lawrence Torres who slipped in and out of APD and like a thief in the night stole a 20 year retirement and two months worth of an $80,000 a year salary from the department aided abetted by Ed Adams who signed a similar "agreement" with Torres.
Look... If Arencóns dirty deal with Marty is illegal then so too is Adams' deal signed by Perlman. If Adams' deal with Perlman is illegal then so is Torres' deal with Adams and for all of the same reasons.
Paying Firefighter Diego Arenón the same as other firefighters and requiring him to well, fight fires is a good start. But while the Days of Diego may be over, those benefiting from dirty side deals with the devil, uh... Marty are still in play and we're paying for them.