About ten years ago, in 2003 the Albuquerque Police Department was awash in scandal involving evidence room thefts and tampering, sexual liaisons between SED personnel and deputy chiefs, supervisory misconduct, and a manpower shortage that seemed to be as bad as it could get. To say the department was in crisis was not an overstatement. But put in today’s context, those issues seem relatively mild. A mere bump in the road. Now the storm has come full circle and this time APD’s chief of police Ray Schultz is subject to a true neutralizer on the playground: the US Department of Justice
Now it seems another federal agency has entered the fray: The US Department of Labor. In response to the manpower crisis facing the department in 2003, APD launched the ReHire program. In this program they offered to rehire recent retirees back on the police force. The department wasn’t getting enough applicants to fill even one academy a year (sound familiar? We are told there are less than 10 cadets in the current class) but rehires liked the idea. Here we had experienced personnel who could come back and be police officers.
Over time rehires found positions throughout the department. They were no longer just on patrol but they were assigned specific positions by, you guessed it, Ray Schultz. Yet while there were some rehires that were given these special perks, it seems Schultz only did this for select friends. For the vast others (there are upwards of 100 rehires in the department today) they were left to contend with positions on patrol. Unless you were a protected by Schultz you got where you were sent and that was it.
This scenario proved unacceptable to most of the rehires and they petitioned the city and the APOA for change. They said they were being discriminated against because there were two sets of standards: one set for non-rehires and another set for rehires. Schultz and the APOA shrugged them off, and being that they are cops, they did not go away. In fact they went to the EEOC and filed a complaint of age discrimination against APD/Schultz and the APOA.
Well, after almost two years of arguing and counter arguments the EEOC issued their determination on the matter. The EEOC has found that the City/Schultz and the APOA have in fact discriminated against the rehires as a class and the employees have been deprived of certain opportunities and burdened with additional costs solely because of their age.
The scale of this decision cannot be under estimated. Because of poor, if not illegal, planning and deception by the APD’s Ray Schultz, and the APOA, have now burdened the taxpayers with liability on a scale that almost defies belief. All of the rehires now have a standing claim of discrimination against the city and the APOA for their practices.While we know the issue of rehires is very controversial amongst APD officers and we at the Eye do not take sides in this matter because each side has valid claims. However we believe all officers should be treated equally regardless of their immutable characteristics and their one common trait: their blood is blue.
Mayor Berry and CAO Perry, you were aware of these issues yet you chose to retain the primary offender in this mess: Ray Schultz. While he executed and deployed the failed plan that has now burdened the taxpayers with this mess, you failed to act make things right. Now you will have to restructure everything from the entire bid, to current specialized unit assignments, from pay disparity to PERA contributions. And you will have to adjust things retroactively...
Quote of the Day
Does this sound familiar? This is right from the dictionary and seems to describe Albuquerque, Berry and Schultz. Fascism (f ash ,izem) noun An authoritarian right wing system of government and/or social organization. (in general use) extreme right wing, authoritarian, chauvinistic and/or intolerant views or practices. Fascism tends to include a belief in the supremacy of one group over another, national, ethnic, especially social strata or monetarily; a contempt for democracy, an insistence on obedience to a powerful leader, and a strong demagogic approach. Compliments of one of our Eyes