Mayor Berry Stands Up for Taxpayers

Albuquerque Mayor RJ Berry certainly faced a terrible situation when he took over the reins in December. The budget deficit is $50 million and the previous mayor had locked in $13 million worth of raises for the police and fire departments.

Now, at least in one instance, Mayor Berry is putting a stop to one sweetheart deal put in place by Mayor Marty. The deal was to pay the fire union president $81,000 per year (about $32,000 more than his rank merited). Even if the union sues, this is still a worthy battle for Albuquerque taxpayers because it is a sign that Mayor Berry means business and is not going to coddle government workers in a time of massive budget deficits.

As we at the Rio Grande Foundation have pointed out repeatedly, state and local governments throughout the state suffer from having bloated bureaucracies. Cutting back on this problem may not solve all of Albuquerque’s budget problems, but Berry is doing well by targeting the obviously unfair agreements (including the massive police and fire raises) for cuts.

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2 Replies to “Mayor Berry Stands Up for Taxpayers”

  1. The fireman’s issue pales compared to former CAO Ed Adams’ sweet deal. In the fireman’s case the increase in pay was negotiated, ratified by the Union and approved by the City Council. A similar arrangement was in place under the Kinney Administration – only with higher pay (considering economic factors). Conversely, Adams’ deal exceeded $50,000 but never received the required City Council Approval. Not saying either is right; just pointing out that Mayor Berry is not being consistent.

  2. Ironically, the fireman’s issue is less troublesome than the sweet deal received by former CAO Ed Adams. The fireman’s pay was negotiated, ratified by the Union and approved by the City Council. A similar position was created under the Kinney Administration, albeit at a higher pay (when economic conditions are factored in). Conversely, in the Adams case the salary was negotiated by then-CAO Bruce Perlman, but never received the required City Counciil approval as required by ordinance.

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