APD, city still at odds over wage increases

Posted at: 09/06/2013 6:52 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The city of Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Officer’s Association are gearing up for another courtroom in a saga that’s already cost thousands for taxpayers.

In 2008, former mayor Martin Chavez promised three waves of officer pay raises. When Mayor Berry took office in 2011 he nixed the plan to save jobs and cut a deficit. A judge ruled it was done wrongfully – but the city says not so fast.

The cut is now at the center of a courtroom battle. The question is whether the city and union even could have passed a three year plan, since the budget changes from year to year.

“There was no appropriation. And there was no appropriation for 2011,” city attorney David Tourek said. “It has to happen every year, there has to be an appropriation.”

“It was proven and has been proven in court that the money is there and had been appropriated by city council,” APOA president Stephanie Lopez said.

A court of appeals judge sided with the union. But now, the city’s taking it to the state supreme court, who they believe will toss it back to district court for review with more facts. If that happens, they’re confident about the end result.

“We've never lost a union pay case. We've prevailed on every union pay case,” Tourek said. “It would be ultimately up to a court to determine what would happen to the city.”

That confidence hasn’t shaken the union.

“We realize it's gonna mean more litigation time based on what the city said today but it's definitely in our favor in the long run,” Lopez said.