The Piercing Truth
Jan 31, 2011
Our Eyes have obtained a report that shows some of the top wage earners in the City and they aren’t shy about it or even ashamed of what they are making. The following is the earnings report for the Mayor and CAO offices taken from the City's transparency web site. The report covers the "calendar year" proceeding the last pay day. The City's last pay day was January 14, 2011, therefore the wages reflected as paid, are from January 14, 2010 to January 14, 2011. Note: The report does NOT reflect vacation time accrued and sick leave time accrued; if such time is NOT used it can be cashed out when the employee leaves under certain circumstances.
According to the report, Campbell was paid $168,246.40 for the year, White was paid $132,272.00 for the year, Sally Mayer was paid $36,193.00 for the year. NOTE: Chris Ramirez on the report is listed as "Christopher Huffman" and he was paid $79, 564.00 as PIO. TJ Wilham was also paid $79, 564.00 to be White's PIO. White and Wilham both have take home cars which must be declared as income. Tito Madrid and Sal Baragiola are both "double dippers." Sal Baragiola was Darren White’s Undersheriff while White was the Bernalillo County Sheriff. If the Mayor's staff salaries were in fact reduced by the reported 3% like other personnel, the reduction would have occurred July 1, 2010. The take home cars are considered a dollar benefits but are not reported as income in this report.
It seems as though there was uproar over what David Campbell was initially paid, $159,000.00 ($15,000 more than the previous COA, ED Adams). Now we learn he’s being paid almost $170,000.00 a year (17% increase) plus a car (another estimated $12,000 worth as a benefit).
Also, starring in this fleecing is Darren White, at $132,272.00, up from $125,000.00 (6% increase) and his PIO, (Public Safety Comm. Director, TJ Wilham, almost $80,000.00, up from $74,000.00 (8% increase) and Darren’s secretary who is rumored at around $59,000.00. We can’t forget Sal Barigiola who is “double dipping” pulling him in his retirement and a whooping $69,448.00!
That’s $292,000 between White, Ramirez, and Wilham. If you include the rest of White’s “household” (Barigiola and White’s secretary) which he kept in tow when he arrived at the City, comes to a total of $421,000.00. Ask yourself this question; are they needed?
Darren’s position was supposed to be eliminated after Pete Dinelli was given the boot. Therefore, White’s and Wilham’s personal secretary, Erin Kinnard Thompson, would not be needed either. Many of these positions have salaries that are bloated. Example; two positions directly under the Mayor are being paid $63,000.00 and $84,000.00. Sarah Lister is being paid twice as much as her predecessor Scott Forrester under Marty Chavez who makes $35,000.00. Lister was a campaign volunteer and part time analyst who now makes $84,000.00.
There are others such as Gilbert Montano, Council Liaison (Councilor Sally Mayer’s former assistant) at $71,000.00 and of course Constituent Service Rep. Sally Mayer at $36,000.00.
Roberto Albertorio Chief Admin. Hearing Officer $115,000 and Anita Reina Admin. Hearing Officer, $83,000. Both of these manage and monitor your ‘Red Light’ kangaroo court.
Nobody can say what exactly they do, as the ‘Red Light’ court already has a slew of other hearing officers conducting courtroom business. It is suggested that Roberto’s expertise is in zoning not the red light camera scheme.
Let’s not forget City Attorney Rob Perry, who makes $130,000.00, $20,000.00 more than his predecessor Bob White (18% increase).
The rest are a combination of political favors and payback positions, most of which have no qualifications to hold such positions. Noted, that one position, that of Constituent Services Representative held by Former City Councilor, Sally Mayer, seems a bit below par salary and hardly enough to exist at $36,000.00. Hard pill to swallow considering that her former assistant is now making over twice as much.
With a city that has budget woes in the tens of millions, one has to wonder just what our City leaders are thinking. This is clearly fleecing and pillaging the taxpayer in our opinion.
This folks is a disgrace. These salaries are too high, the competence of most is too low and the taxpayer is made the fool. Why hasn’t our fine upstanding Mayor followed suit behind our Honorable Governor Martinez and cap salaries at $125,000.00? Our financial problems are that bad. I am sure that the City of Albuquerque has lobbyist up in Santa-Fe crying about how the City needs more money. Were the 3% are across the board cuts? Where are the bigger cuts for the upper management? Why is APD’s rank and file the only target of budget cuts, loss in incentives and manhandled by the most unscrupulous dictator in recent memory.
Why isn’t the news media addressing these important issues, when the City is in the worst economic condition ever?
Here is some interesting data from the City’s web site. According to the City’s most recent information, the medium household income (2007) for a citizen of Albuquerque is $43,667.00. Mayor Berry, maybe you or someone from your staff can now explain to the taxpaying citizens why or how Campbell is worth nearly four times as much as the rest of the citizenry; why or how is White worth three times more than the rest of our citizenry? Or why or how Wilham or Ramirez (Huffman) is worth nearly twice the rest of our citizenry? The citizens are growing tied of such treachery.
The biggest and most perplexing question is; why is Mayor Berry failing to be a “good steward of our tax dollars?” Mayor Berry is going to be forced to wake up one day and face his responsibilities and be accountable for the devastation that he has allowed. Think out of the Box Mayor Berry set a salary cap like the Honorable Governor, Susana Martinez. Eliminate many of those un-needed positions and allow our seasoned Chief of Police, Ray Schultz, to run public safety. APD already has the infrastructure to handle critical incidences and make command decisions. As well as, several PIO’s on all shifts and the option of activating the Emergency Operations Center. The fleecing has to stop.
Jan 27, 2011
It appears that the relentless pressure from the Honorable City Council President, Ken Sanchez, has crushed the will of the foes involved. So, what does this mean? According to our Eyes it means that as of 6:00 P.M. tonight all 180 plus officers get their cars back! The Honorable Ken Sanchez knew what was right for the officers, right for the citizens and right for public safety. Once again, maybe the “Berry Bad Mistake” folks will take note of this admirable man and follow suit. It should also be noted that the Honorable Governor of the State of New Mexico, Suzanna Martinez, placed a moratorium on the purchase of any new cars for the State of New Mexico, except for public safety. Simply said, public safety must come first. For those in the Berry Administration who keep missing this important point, we can pull out the crayons and draw you a picture that you might be able to understand.
We can only wonder what statement, if any White will make. It was his idea after all to take the cars away. Do you think he had an epiphany? The timing of his epiphany comes into question, as the Vote of No Confidence is due to be voted on in less than three weeks. Is he hoping officers will think he is the hero, and it is because of him that the cars are back? Give credit where credit is due. In fact next time you see Ken Sanchez, tell him "Thank You…Thank you for doing your job, thank you for being fair, thank you for your hard work, and most of all thank you for not allowing yourself to be bullied.”
A special recognition must be given to Councilor Debbie O’Malley for standing up and voicing her thoughts, also!
There is no blood in the water. Twenty-four parents is such a miniscule amount, it is simply ridicules to create such frenzy. Ironically, according to the news media, many students were excited about the changes. This is where the real story was at. Students being mature and cooperating with APS to ensure they receive the education they deserve.
Kudos to the schools’ principal, Dr. Karen Sanchez-Griego, who did not allow the meeting to run disfunctionally. Dr. Sanchez-Greigo managed the meeting in an orderly and professional manner.
Jan 22, 2011
The new Director/Chief of MDC (Metropolitan Detention Center)is Ramon Rustin, of Pennsylvania. Mr. Rustin appears to be more than qualified for the position. This story is not directed towards Mr. Rustin but towards the decisions made by Bernalillo County Officials.
When the citizens hear of these types of appointment, it makes them wonder. The primary question is; why didn’t they hire someone from New Mexico? We have a large pool of New Mexicans who are qualified. We have native New Mexicans and others who have made New Mexico their home, who are unemployed and could use a job. Notwithstanding, there are many other New Mexicans who are looking for a job change or an upward promotion.
The County Manager, Thaddeus Lucero, the Deputy Manager, Tom Swisstack, and the County Commission should be ashamed of their actions. As you know Thaddeus Lucero has been the County Manager for many years and has left a trail of misdeeds in his ruins. Given Lucero’s record; he is probably not the best person to include in or have any say in the decision making process. The County is supposed to be deciding Lucero’s fate in the next few days. It is assumed, that if they dump Lucero; they will do another “Nationwide search,” since there is “nobody” in New Mexico that is qualified to perform certain County duties. Maybe the County Officials are going to follow Mayor Berry and his administration in making “A Berry Bad Mistake.”
Here is what traditionally occurs. An outside person is brought in, they stay long enough to get a second retirement from our retirement system, and they leave our State with that pension. This does nothing but hurt our State long term. The County administrators need to quit being short-sighted and look at the bigger picture. Any job should be given to a local person before going out-of-state. Swisstack stated that there were over twenty-two applicants.
"We are extremely fortunate and delighted to have Ramon join our team," Deputy County Manager Tom Swisstack said in an announcement of Rustin's appointment on the Bernalillo County website. "His long history in corrections and demonstrated leadership make him an excellent choice to take on the challenges of being the MDC Chief of Corrections."
Read more: ABQNews: UPDATED: New MDC Director on the Job http://www.abqjournal.com/abqnews/abqnewseeker-mainmenu-39/26478-new-mdc-director-on-the-job.html#ixzz1BYLXr4ad
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Our public officials need to be more accountable to the tax payers and take care of our citizen’s before they go on a shopping spree across the Country. What’s ironic is; our public officials talk about how bad the economy is and how high unemployment is, only to turn around and recruit someone 2,000 miles away to take a job from a New Mexican. If our officials are going to "talk the talk; then they need to walk the walk!"
Jan 21, 2011
Sanchez addressed the audience and said the take home car program was funded until July of 2011 and that he did not understand why Public Safety Director, Darren White, was in a huge rush to confiscate the cars from APD officers. Sanchez went on to tell the audience that the City Council did not take any money from APD but actually gave APD additional funding. Sanchez also said the City has seen an increase in crime since the cars were taken. Sanchez said the City Council was supportive of the cars and alluded that Darren White did not tell the truth.
Sanchez inferred that the City Council is in favor of returning the cars to the officers and placing the restriction on future officers. This would allow future officers to plan accordingly with their career as well as where they choose to live. Sanchez also said the eleven mile radius from the Big I is not adequate and perhaps it should be modified to a fifteen mile radius.
Councilor Sanchez seems to know and understand what the City needs. Perhaps Mayor Berry needs to consult with the City’s Councilors and get direction instead of chasing his tail in a circle behind White. Otherwise, the citizens could be looking at another, “Berry Bad Mistake.”
Jan 20, 2011
According to the Police Union,Public Safety Director, Darren White is the Mayor’s “Hatch Man” and spearheaded the new take home car policy. White has been under fire for several decisions that the Union claims were bad ones. White was also scrutinized for him and his wife’s alleged involvement with the Brad Ahrensfield’s Federal case. Ahrensfield was facing federal criminal charges for obstruction of justice. Ahrensfield, who was a police officer at the time, is accused of tipping off his friend who was also the target of a criminal investigation. White and his wife also appear to have direct ties to this investigation.
Both Sanchez and O’Malley made an unsuccessful bid for Mayor against Berry. Positive moves in the right direction, such as backing “Albuquerque’s Finest” could easily open the door for either to become Mayor and lead the City. Both seem to have good common sense. It’s probably a bad idea to attack our front-line public safety personnel; Thus, making “A Berry Bad Mistake!”
If you're looking at the wall Mayor, “A Berry Bad Mistake” could spell the end of a possible second bid for Mayor. The disdain with Mayor Berry is becoming bipartisan. Wake up Mayor Berry; the writing is becoming permanent on the wall.
Jan 19, 2011
Many yellow lights will now stay yellow for 1/2 second longer. City leaders said that two national studies show it will deter drivers from running red lights and prevent crashes.
‘(One study showed) increasing the length of a yellow light from half a second to one and a half seconds had reduced crashes by 50 percent,’ Wilham said.
In addition to increasing yellow light times, the city also increased the times when all four lights are red.
‘That gives anyone who might be running the red light time to clear that intersection before someone could be coming the opposite direction,’ Wilham said.
City leaders said a University of New Mexico study showed that certain red-light cameras help keep drivers safer.
‘But it also told us, by making other adjustments such as increasing the time of yellow lights or increasing the time all lights stay red, also increases public safety,’ Wilham said.
The city also hopes to get the green light to look at adding better signage and to improve rumble strips in the near future.
If these improvements work at the 20 targeted intersections, then city leaders said they could expand the procedures.”
Bravo Mayor Berry, here is another idea, get rid of the out-of-towners (Red flex). Stop them from fleecing our community any further. Place an officer at the intersections and provide police service to the community. If the City is going to create any program; 100% of the proceeds should come back to our community!
Wilham was dressed appropriately in a business suit. We weren’t sure if he was actually acting professional or if he was headed to church or a funeral. Wilham acted as if this is new information that the City did not know about. The City wants money as does Red flex. Mayor Berry, This is a call for you to gain local control. If it is that important to the City; place the red light camera on the ballot and allow the citizens of Albuquerque to decide.
Big Brother needs to go. This idea was poorly thought out although it initially proved to be a “cash cow” for the City. For a wealthy community like Scottsdale where Chief Ray Schultz came from, the additional tax may not be a big deal, for the common folks here in Albuquerque; this is just wrong.
Mayor Berry needs to act decisively and get rid of the cameras. Our Community is struggling to put food on the table; placing this additional taxation is viewed as foolish by some. This could easily be perceived by the public as an olive branch.
Jan 11, 2011
APD’s problems along with Darren White's problems don't look like they're going away anytime soon. Our Eyes kept telling us this evening about a telephone poll asking what the public thought about APD’s take home vehicles being taken away from officers who live the 11 magical miles away from Albuquerque’s Big I. The poll also asked how the public thought White (who may be on TV more than Obama and certainly more than Mayor Berry or Ethel Merman) was doing as the City's Top Cop / firefighter / whatevertheheckheis.
Our "Eyes" tell us the poll went something like this:
This is a five question survey.
Are you aware that Mayor Berry and Darren White have taken away police cars from some of our officers?
Are you aware that police officers living 11 miles away from the Big I have had their take home police car privileges revoked and can no longer use their police vehicles to travel between work and home?
Do you believe it makes the community safer when there is a police car presence in your area?
Do you agree with the policy that revokes take home cars from some of our police officers?
How would you rate the job that Chief Public Safety Director Darren White is doing?
Press: 1 for excellent, 2 for good, 3 for bad, 4 for terrible, 5 no opinion
Maybe the public needs to be asking more questions like what role did White or his wife played in the Ahrensfield case?
Why didn’t TJ Wilham get his car taken away?
Why didn’t White as the quasi-leader of APD offer up his car first?
Why is the “ostrich” type local media not reporting the events at City Hall?
Why, why, why… If you get the answers, pass it on to us here at the Eye.
Stay tuned for more as our “Eyes” tell us more.
Jan 6, 2011
The members have spoken. Tonight The APOA (Albuquerque Police Officers Association) held an emergency meeting for its members. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the current situation with the take home car policy. The officers are upset and angry their cars have been pulled. This left many to wonder, why all of a sudden? Why doesn’t the City see the benefits a take home car provides? Why can’t the City Council see that it actually costs more for the City not have take home cars? Does the City realize the barrage of lawsuits and challenges this change in policy has opened? This also made many wonder whom exactly was spearheading this change in policy? The loss of the take home cars are taxing on the officers and introduces safety issues for the officers. Our Eyes tell us that the person who is likely responsible for pulling the cars is; you guessed it again, Darren White. In fact, our Eyes tell us that while Chief Ray Schultz was ready to provide City Councilors with the logistics and benefits of the take home car policy (at the last council meeting); White gave “Schultzie” a direct order not to talk about it; not to present his documented information he had sitting on his lap. If this is true the Eye gives it’s commendations to Chief Schultz. It was at that time that Chief Schultz walked out of the meeting. Who exactly is responsible for the officers and equipment of the Police Department? Could it be true that White actually controls everything by proxy (Where is Mayor Berry)?
As it appears, the men and women of the Department have finally stood up to this dictatorial tyrant. A motion was made at this meeting for a “Vote of No Confidence” against Darren White. This would be huge; but nothing new to White. New Mexico State Police did a “Vote of No Confidence” against White on September 27, 1999. It was reported that 89 percent of the New Mexico State Police had “NO Confidence” in White. It appeared at this emergency meeting that almost 100 percent of those in attendance have “No Confidence” in their proxy leader, Darren White. It appears that the resounding lack of confidence was emanated by all ranks: rookies, veterans, detectives, and supervisors. In accordance with the APOA By-Laws, the motion was tabled for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days, all APOA members will be allowed to vote on the motion. Will this be “the straw that broke the camel’s back”?
If the Mayor wants the City functioning properly, take out the proxy block and let the Chief of Police; be the Chief. This will allow the officers to do their jobs. Otherwise, why pay for a public safety director and a chief; when the chief doesn’t possess the legitimate power or autonomy to run the Department. To the City Council; here is your opportunity to voice the “Publics Will.” This is the part of the reason your constituents voted you in to office. Stand up and right the wrong.
*For your entertainment at the top of this story is a picture of a bumper sticker that was being passed around at the APOA Meeting. COmpliments of one of our Eyes.
Some are concerned about other State jobs that are unregulated to a certain point. A good example of this is the 89 school districts and universities throughout the State of New Mexico. Just here in the Metro area, the Eye took a look into this and you may be shock and appalled by what you see.
Let’s start with the University of New Mexico. The President of UNM, Dr. David Schmidly makes an astronomical salary along with perks and benefits. Listed below is what was a found:
“UNM keeps a salary book in Zimmerman library that lists the pay for all UNM employees. The book, lists only base salaries. Schmidly's pay is listed at $387,600.00. His total compensation package, however — which includes the $120,000 in deferred compensation plus housing and auto allowances — is $594,600.”
Source/Partial quotes: ABQJOURNAL NEWS/METRO
Next, let’s look at our other local school superintendents’ salaries:
“APS Superintendent Winston Brooks pulls in an impressive salary of $250,000 Source/Partial quotes: APS Website
“Rio Rancho’s Superintendent Sue Cleveland salary is listed at $151,880 in the latest contract given to the Observer. On top of her compensation, Cleveland will continue to receive $1,125 a month for travel expenses using her personal vehicles.” Source/Partial quotes: Rio Rancho Observer Christopher Ortiz, Observer staff writer
“Next is Los Lunas Superintendent Bernard Saiz. According the Valencia County Bulletin, Saiz receives a yearly salary of $135,000, and $20,000 in incentives based on "incentive goals" agreed upon by the board and Saiz. If attained, each goal is worth $5,000. The contract also includes a cell phone, laptop computer and use of a vehicle." Source/Partial Quotes: Melissa Hubbell News-Bulletin Staff Writer
Do you think we are getting our money’s worth out of these people? Are our schools and universities up to par? These questions leave many gravely concerned and some in disbelief.
The hope is for our Governor to find or have a way to regulate these ridiculous salaries across the board. The universities and school districts are riddled with huge salaries for jobs that do not necessitate that pay scale. The challenge is on for our Governor. The Governor has a lot of hard work ahead of her.
Jan 3, 2011
This past weekend all the media attention was centered on a New Year’s Eve Roadblock. You guessed right; up on the lectern was White along with Chief “Schultzie” in the shadows. White gave a short speech. Here’s a question; should our Chief of Police; Ray Schultz have been at the lectern or White? Since the new Administration took office; Chief “Schultzie” has been in Darren White’s shadow. Maybe White is teaching our Chief how the “Big Dawgs” play. Was this because White knows more than the Chief or was it an Ethel Merman opportunity? You decide.
The Eye asks you once again, what is their real motive? Is this person yearning for that job in Hollywood, is he/she waiting for a big break, hoping one day to get that call from Spielberg? For all of our local Ethel Merman’s’ here in Albuquerque, you will need to drive yourself to Hollywood (it is only 665 miles away), but please make sure you leave your take home car and as Bugs Bunny says, “Bon Voyage!” (The Eye believes in some humor in these days).
Here are a few final thoughts and opinions. The action of our City officials should be based on what is best for the public and not on glamorizing one’s self by granting fame to a known criminal.
Although, some may resemble Ethel Merman or even think they are her; they are not. The Ethel Merman Syndrome is for Hollywood; not Albuquerque, New Mexico. Maybe Bugs would consider returning to Albuquerque and becoming Mayor. Then Albuquerque could really say, “Hooray for Hollywood!”