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.