'It is a highly unethical and cozy relationship between Troy Rodgers and the administration at the taxpayers' expense' - City Councilor Diane Gibson
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
Mayor Richard Berry’s administration wants a new contract with a police department psychologist who was hammered in a city audit last year for questionable business practices and the appearance of potential wrongdoing in his dealings with the city.
The effort to give Troy Rodgers a $70,000 contract to provide psychological services to the Albuquerque Police Department has angered City Councilor Diane Gibson who said the proposed deal reeks of cronyism.
“It is a highly unethical and cozy relationship between Troy Rodgers and the administration at the taxpayers’ expense,” Gibson told ABQ Free Press. “Albuquerque is crawling with psychologists, but this is not the guy [for the job].”
Gibson also accused the administration of trying to skirt the City Council approval process by giving Rodgers a $70,000 contract, which is just below the expenditure threshold that requires the council’s OK.
“This new contract should come before this body,” Gibson said during Monday night’s Council meeting when she grilled the city’s Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry about the deal. She said the administration was interested in using Rodgers’s service for a long period of time and accused Perry of “artificially holding it [the contract] to $70,000 and trying to skirt this [approval process].” Gibson also suggested that the city put the contract out to bid.
Perry told Gibson that the administration wanted to keep Rodgers, who has been under contract with APD since 2011, on board because he was a nationally recognized expert in the area police psychology. “We do intend to maintain him [Rodgers],” Perry told Gibson.
Rodgers’ business practices were called into question last October when an internal city audit found that while serving as acting director of APD’s Behavioral Sciences Division, Rodgers submitted invoices to his division from other companies he owned and then approved those expenses in his role as BSD’s acting director.
“The information submitted in the anonymous complaints to OIA [Office of Internal Audit] identifies the appearance of potential wrongdoing and questionable business practices by a contractor and APD,” the audit said. It added that since 2011, the city has paid Rodgers’ various companies nearly $500,000.
When the audit was released, Perry said the city was working to impose controls so that Rodgers wouldn’t be approving his own companies’ invoices. During Monday’s meeting, Perry said those controls had been put in place.
But Gibson, a Democrat from District 7 in the mid-Northeast Heights, told ABQ Free Press she doesn’t believe the administration on anything it says about Rodgers. For instance, Gibson said that during a meeting last October with Perry and APD Deputy Chief Bob Huntsman, she was told by Huntsman that Rodgers had been removed as acting director of the BSD in July of 2015.
But on Nov. 2, Gibson has some of her City Council staff call Rodgers’ administrative assistant, who was a city employee. Gibson’s staff asked if Rodgers was still acting BSD director and the administrative assistant said he was, Gibson said.
And on Jan. 26, Gibson called Rodger’s assistant herself and asked if Rodgers was still the division’s acting director. “I asked if she was still Troy Rodgers’ administrative assistant and if he was still the acting director of BSD, and she said yes to both of them,” Gibson said. “Then she sounded a little confused and she said, ‘Why, have you heard anything different?’”
Asked if the administration had lied to her about Rodgers’ status, Gibson said, “I don’t know how else to interpret that except that they were being deceptive.”
Should the city continue to do business with Rodgers?
“I don’t think so. The audit report speaks for itself,” Gibson said. “The entire reason that government entities and corporations do audits is to find problems and to make good decisions based on what is found in those audits. This audit shows actions and results and results that do not further the city’s goal of rebuilding the Albuquerque Police Department.”
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