N.M. Mayors Voice Support for Return to Work
January 27, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE - Earlier this month, Mayor Richard J. Berry was joined by Greg Fouratt from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico Legislators, New Mexico Mayors, Albuquerque City Councilors, representatives from the New Mexico Municipal League, and law enforcement professionals in support of Return to Work legislation for law enforcement in the 2016 Regular Session of the New Mexico Legislature. Since that public announcement, 11 additional New Mexico mayors have written to Mayor Berry to voice their strong support and need for this legislation in their own communities. This far reaching support has more than 13 mayors directly asking the legislature to understand the needs of their communities by passing this legislation.
“Support for return to work for police officers is coming in from mayors in cities and towns all over New Mexico because we know it is an important tool to keep our citizens safe,” said Mayor Berry. “I hope this broad support equates to broad support from legislators who also serve these communities.”
Mayors who have sent letters are from communities that range in population anywhere from 477 to 88,035. The thirteen cities, towns, and villages in New Mexico that have voiced support the legislation so far include: Anthony, Peralta, Bayard, Tijeras, Gallup, Las Cruces, Red River, Tatum, Moriarty, Rio Rancho, Mesilla, Cloudcroft, and Farmington.
The Return to Work legislation will allow retired municipal police officers and other retired law enforcement personnel in New Mexico to return to work while still collecting their retirement pensions.
The City of Albuquerque hired an actuarial to examine the effect return to work for law enforcement could have if reinstated. While other reports claimed that this legislation would harm PERA by millions of dollars, the actuarial review found that return to work for police officers and sheriffs can be accomplished without a negative impact on pension solvency. The actuarial asserts that in some cases, return to work could actually improve pension solvency, while in other cases any nominal costs would be mitigated with a small upfront contribution from municipalities to PERA. The reinstatement of return to work is fiscally responsible. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) invests $150,000 into training an officer in the academy alone. This sum does not include the additional training the officer receives throughout his tenure and the officer’s invaluable years of experience. By bringing a return to work officer back into the department, cities, towns and villages across New Mexico are saving taxpayers’ money and retaining the experience it has already invested in.
Letters and supporting documentation for Return to Work can be found here: http://www.cabq.gov/mayor/news/mayor-berry-supports-for-return-to-work-for-law-enforcement