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These 31 City Workers Could Soon Get The Boot

These 31 City Workers Could Soon Get The Boot

Look For Mayor Berry's Political Appointees To Scramble For "Safe" Jobs At City Hall

New Mayor Will Probably Axe Berry’s Political Appointees

Here’s What They Make


The party could soon be over for 31 well-paid city employees Mayor Richard Berry’s department directors and other so-called exempt or “ungraded” City Hall workers.

The are among 223 “ungraded,” full-time employees who are basically political appointees and who can be fired at will because they don’t have the rights and protections that the city’s 4,200 other “classified” employees do.

When the new mayor comes in, look for these people to be out of their jobs, that is unless they have weaseled their ways into classified jobs at the city beforehand.

I was an ungraded or unclassified employee for both the state and city for over 28 years and retired in 2009 from government service.

I recall vividly eight years ago during the transition period from the day of the election to when Berry took office on December 1, 2009, his transition team sent a political operative to walk around the mayor’s office to get the correct spelling off name plates for those who worked for Mayor Martin Chavez so the designated new chief administrative officer could send out letters to those employees telling them their services to the City would no longer be needed after December 1, 2009.

I found out that I would no longer be employed when Berry held a press conference and announced Darren White as my replacement, but it didn’t matter because I was retiring.

Berry has a little over five months left in office, and it’s a sure bet many of the “ungraded” or “unclassified” employees who are staunch Berry loyalists will now try to transfer to positions within city hall to classified positions, even if it means a demotion and a reduction in pay, to be kept employed by the city.

Here are the 31 “ungraded” or “unclassified” City Hall employees I suspect are either updating their resumes and looking for employment elsewhere outside City Hall, or who are trying to find classified positions at the city to be transferred into before Berry leaves office and the new mayor is sworn in December 1, 2017:

  • Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry, paid $92.29 an hour or $191,963.20 a year.
  • APD Chief Gordon Eden, paid $81.00 an hour or $168,480 a year.
  • BIOPARK Chief Executive Officer James Allen, paid $77.48 an hour or $161,158.40 a year.
  • Director of Behavioral Sciences Nils Rosenbaum, paid $76.50 or $159,120 a year.
  • Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan, paid $73.53 an hour or $152,942.40 a year.
  • City Attorney Jessica M. Hernandez, paid $72.99 an hour or $151,819.20 a year.
  • Fire Chief David W. Downey, paid $64.09 an hour or $134,992 a year.
  • Mayor’s Chief of Staff Gilbert A. Montano, paid $61.27 an hour or $127,441 a year.
  • Director of Solid Waste Department John W. Soladay, $55.99 an hour or $116,459.20 a year.
  • Assistant APD Chief Robert Huntsman, paid $57.43 an hour or $119,454.40 a year.
  • APD Executive Director William R. Slausen, paid $53.82 an hour or $111,945.60 a year.
  • Environmental Health Director Mary L. Leonard, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.
  • Parks and Recreation Director Barbara Taylor, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196,80 a year.
  • Senior Affairs Director Jorja Armijo-Brasher, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 year.
  • Animal Welfare Director Paul R. Caster, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
  • Cultural Services Director Dana N. Feldman, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
  • Planning Department Director Suzanne G. Lubar, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
  • Human Resources Director Mary L. Scott, paid $53.46 an hour or $111,196.80 a year.
  • Mark T. Leach, Manager of Technology Services, paid $53.04 an hour or $110,323.20 a year.
  • Family Community Services Director Douglas Chaplin, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.
  • Transit Director Bruce A. Rizzieri, paid $52.41 an hour or $109,012.80 a year.
  • Assistant Transit Director Dayna G. Crawford, paid $45.11 an hour or $93,828 a year.
  • Economic Department Director Gary L. Oppedahl, paid $51.27 an hour or $106,641.60 a year.
  • Police Emergency Communications Manager Erika L. Wilson, paid $50.38 and hour or $104,790.40 a year.
  • APD Academy Director Erika Wilson, paid $50.38 an hour or $104,790.40 a year.
  • Aviation Director (Airport) James D. Hinde, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
  • City Clerk Natalie Y. Howard, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
  • Finance and Administrative Services Director Lou Hoffman, paid $48.46 an hour or $100,796 a year.
  • Mayor’s Director of Constituent Services Alan E. Armijo, paid $39.71 an hour or $82,596 a year.
  • Director of Office of Emergency Management Roger L. Ebner, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.
  • Real Time Crime Center Manager T.J. Wilham, paid $39.50 an hour or $82,160 a year.

The average salaries paid Department Directors under the previous administration were around $91,000 a year, so Berry has paid 25 percent to 45 percent more to his unclassified department directors, at-will employees, while rank-and-file classified employee’s were given 1 percent to 3 percent raises over the last eight years.

My only hope is that when the new mayor is elected, that person’s transition team shows a little more class than Berry did and some respect in terminating people.

My best wishes to any of those leaving the Berry administration in five months and I wish them well on their future endeavors outside of City Hall.

The nine candidates running for mayor need to start thinking about exactly how and who they will want to replace and who they want to surround themselves with if they are elected.

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  • Joe
    May 24, 2017, 6:57 pm

    You mean like the associate director position at the airport thats been closed the last 6 years that magically became available? Guess who one of the firsts to put in were. Position closes today.

  • Dick Moran
    May 24, 2017, 10:27 pm

    Mr. Dinelli.

    Speaking of Mayor Berry’s senior administrative, at-will employees, I noticed their salaries were similar to those of the APS administration: associate superintendents and executive directors!

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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