The deal appears to be a violation of the city's conflict-of-interest rules and of federal purchasing regulations.
Mayor Asks City Council to Approve Contract Fraught with Conflicts
APD Crisis Training Deal Would Go to Non-profit Run by Cops
BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI
Mayor Richard Berry‘s administration is working to give a $131,000, federally funded contract for crisis intervention training for Albuquerque police to a nonprofit company run by three APD employees, including two assigned to the department’s Crisis Intervention Unit.
The deal appears to be a violation of the city’s conflict-of-interest rules and of federal purchasing regulations.
The administration has recommended that the contract for the video CIT training work go to Crisis Intervention Team, Inc., a nonprofit formed in 2012.
State records show that CIT’s president is Nils Rosenbaum, who makes $113,942 a year as APD’s in-house psychiatrist. The firm’s secretary is Leah Acata, and its treasurer is Matthew Tinney. Both are APD officers who make $58,240 a year, according to city records.
Tinney and Rosenbaum are currently members of the city’s Crisis Intervention Unit.
Berry’s office sent an executive communication, an EC, to the City Council on March 7 recommending that the CIT non-profit get the contract. The money is coming from a U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance grant that APD was awarded. Berry’s recommendation will be heard before a Council committee, possibly later this month.
Giving the contract to CIT could violate the city’s conflict-of-interest policy. It states the city can’t enter into a contract for more than $1,000 with a business in which a city employee has a controlling interest unless the deal has been put out to competitive bid, or the city’s chief administrative officer has waived that requirement.
It could also violate federal purchasing rules.
A 2004 guide on contracting by the federal Office of Management and Budget said, “Costs of professional and consultant services rendered by persons who are members of a particular profession or possess a special skill, and who are not officers or employees of the government unit, are allowable.”
The EC from Berry’s office made no mention of competitive bidding, conflict of interest or any waivers.
It was signed by CAO Rob Perry, APD Chief Gorden Eden and City Attorney Jessica Hernandez, who presumably knew that CIT is run by APD employees.
Berry’s spokesperson, Rhiannon Schroeder, did not respond to a phone message and email from ABQ Free Press asking to talk with Perry about the proposed contract.
In a telephone interview, Tinney said city and federal officials knew that CIT was owned by APD employees.
He added that neither he nor his partners in CIT, nor their families, can make money from the federal contract. “We can’t make any money off it for our families, and we can’t even pay ourselves,” Tinney said.
He added that the contract, if approved, will be used to hire a coordinator and buy equipment.
Rosenbaum also said that he didn’t see a conflict of interest.
“We have no intention of drawing any money from it [contract/grant]. That would be a horrible conflict of interest,” Rosenbaum said.
Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press.
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