Generally-speaking, Mayor Berry has done a good job in challenging economic times for Albuquerque. That said, fiscal-conservatives and advocates for limited government are sure to have some concerns about the City’s new budget.
First and foremost, why give government employees a raise of 1 percent at a cost of $3.3 million? This is not merely a rhetorical question. Is the City losing good workers to other cities and the private sector? By all accounts, the job market out there is still incredibly soft and with a 9% unemployment rate, I can’t imagine the City is losing too many quality workers…but I’m open to data showing otherwise.
What I’m even more concerned with is that taxpayers really aren’t getting anything for these raises. If the raises were purchasing more flexibility in union contracts — like the one that makes it impossible to fire a bus driver that shows up for work drunk — I’d be a great deal more sympathetic. It would also be nice if fire fighters could be fired for blatantly unethical electoral activity on the job.
I realize that not all government workers are unionized, but it would be great if the Mayor could have leveraged increased pay for increased flexibility. Unfortunately, with this budget as the starting place, the liberals on City Council are only going to argue for smaller cuts and higher raises.