El Pinto vs. Los Cuates: Fight!
There was something blue lurking in the shadows of the Monday, Jan. 3 City Council meeting. A large turnout of police was expected to comment on the end of the take-home car perk, but no officers came to speak at the meeting. Instead, police union president Joey Sigala and a few others paced in and out of the room.
Turns out the police union filed a lawsuit against the city just hours before the meeting on the car issue. As of Jan. 1, officers living more than 11 miles from the Big I are required to leave their squad car at work. This leaves about 180 officers who live outside of Albuquerque to find other transport. The union says this violates their contract and causes safety issues.
This is the second lawsuit filed by the city’s police union against Mayor Richard Berry. The first was filed in July over the pay cuts the department took to balance city coffers. Councilor Don Harris called on Public Safety Director Darren White and questioned him about his recommendation to end the take-home car benefit and its true financial impact. White said this saves more than $600,000 a year, and that’s what the Council was looking to cut from the fuel and maintenance budget. Councilors indicated they want more information on what other departments do in order to revisit the issue soon.