Mayor Richard J. Berry announced today that his administration reached an agreement with the Albuquerque Police Officers Association that will save taxpayers $1 million a year and allow all current police officers to take their cars home.
In exchange for revisions to the take-home car program, the APOA gave up three major incentives that will save taxpayers millions over the next several years.
“When any union comes to us with a deal that makes sense, we listen,” Mayor Berry said. “During these difficult economic times, I have tasked all of my department heads to come up with ways to save taxpayer money. I am proud of my public safety team who worked tirelessly to come up with solutions that will save millions. This is good for taxpayers and it solves the long term policy issue by prohibiting take-home cars for new officers outside of the City limits.”
Under the agreement that went into effect today:
• Current officers who live outside of the city limits will be able to take their cars home. The city implemented a policy on Jan. 1 that limited the take-home car program to officers who live within an 11-miles radius from the Big I. It was estimated this policy was going to save taxpayers $600,000
• Officers hired after July 1, 2011, who live outside of the city limits will not be allowed to take their city-issued cars home.
• Effective July 1, the city will no longer provide retention bonuses. Bonuses were paying up to $15,000 a year to veteran officers. Last year this cost the city more than $750,000.
• The city will stop granting student loan reimbursements to all officers. Officers were eligible for up to $25,000 in student loan reimbursements. Last year, the city paid more than $83,000 in student loan reimbursements.
• The city will discontinue its mortgage incentive program. Officers were given $7,500 towards the purchase of a new home when they signed a 7-year commitment to the Albuquerque Police Department. Last year the city paid more than $98,000 in housing stipends.
“This agreement was focused around not only the safety of the community but the effected officers as well,” APOA President Joey Sigala said. “It was a nice change of pace to sit with the Administration to work out some differences.”
In an attempt to save more than $600,000 the city revised its take-home car policy to limit it to officers who live within the 11-mile radius. After the policy went into effect, the APOA filed suit. Under the new agreement, the APOA has dropped its lawsuit.
“I commend the APOA for coming to us and working with us on an agreement that makes sense to its members and taxpayers,” Mayor Berry said.