Alibi V.29 No.30 • July 23-29, 2020 

Newscity

Suspected Fraud at APD

The News Monkey

A number of agencies are investigating APD of overtime fraud. At least one highly-paid officer has already resigned.

Albuquerque Journal reports that the city notified the Office of State Auditor Brian Colón last week that it suspected fraudulent activity in the city’s police department involving overtime wages paid to former APD spokesman Simon Drobik. Over a year ago, the city’s Civilian Police Oversight Agency called for his termination, citing an abuse of overtime pay. Drobik was interviewed by Internal Affairs investigators earlier this month, and he turned in his resignation later that day. He allegedly received “chief’s overtime” while simultaneously collecting pay for being the department spokesperson.

The accusations against Drobik come amid investigations into the department’s overtime policies. Last month Colón’s office announced it would be conducting a special audit of APD after staff members found “red flags” while investigating multiple complaints about APD overtime.

The audit will be conducted by an outside accounting firm. State Attorney General Hector Balderas said members of his staff have been assigned to help. APD reportedly contacted Balderas’ office about the problem two days before Colón called upon the attorney general.

AZ COVID Patients Hospitalized in NM

New Mexico’s COVID-19 hospitalization rate is rising, but that number includes patients who have been sent here from Arizona.

According to FOX 10 in Phoenix, the state of Arizona is currently facing shortages of medical staffing and hospital space. New Mexico is helping shoulder some of its neighbor’s burden by hosting Arizona patients who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus here in the state. It is required by federal law.

But Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham says New Mexico’s hospitals are nearing full capacity. Admitting patients from other states is also skewing New Mexico recovery rates as hospitalization figures include patients who tested positive for the virus outside of the state but are being treated here.

In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Lujan Grisham said New Mexico already has a lower number of hospital beds per capita compared to most states and expressed concern over Arizona’s pandemic response.

The New Mexico Department of Health said the number of people being transferred from Arizona will not cause undue burden on the state’s health infrastructure.

Report Finds Improvements in Nursing Industry

The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee says state spending on a nursing expansion program has paid off.

Last week the committee published a report analyzing the effectiveness of state government spending on programs that boosted education funding, degree production and workforce licensing supply and demand issues in the nursing sector.

The report found that thanks to government spending, nursing bachelor’s degrees increased by 141 percent across the state since 2012. Funds also helped to increase degree program enrollment and faculty salaries.