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Officer pay comparison ordered

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The City Council wants an independent study of how much Albuquerque police officers make compared to their peers around the Southwest and at neighboring agencies.

A proposal sponsored by Don Harris won approval last week, setting aside $20,000 to hire a consultant to do the salary survey.

“We need a full understanding of why we’re having difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified police officers,” Harris said.

A patrol officer, first class, now makes about $52,374 a year after graduation from the academy.

The legislation, approved without opposition Sept. 16, calls for a survey that compares APD’s total compensation package to agencies in similar-sized cities in the Southwest and other communities in New Mexico, such as the State Police Department and Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office.

Abortion vote

The debate over whether to send the proposed abortion ordinance to voters was fascinating. Unlike so many other council discussions, this one didn’t fall along party lines.

Some councilors said the city had to schedule an election on the proposal, regardless of whether they supported the content of the ordinance or had concerns about its legality.

Others said they weren’t bound to spend money holding an election on something that’s vulnerable to a court challenge.

The election resolution won approval on a 5-4 vote, sending the proposal to voters in a special election Nov. 19.

The four opponents were evenly divided by party, with Republicans Roxanna Meyers and Trudy Jones joining Democrats Rey Garduño and Isaac Benton against it.

In favor were Republicans Dan Lewis, Brad Winter, Janice Arnold-Jones and Don Harris, plus Democrat Ken Sanchez.

The proposed ordinance would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, with narrow exceptions for cases in which the woman’s life is in danger.

Wage effort

A petition drive backed by the New Mexico Restaurant Association and aimed at changing the new minimum-wage law failed to reach the signature requirement to move forward.

Supporters didn’t turn in any signatures by their deadline on Monday, according to the city clerk.

Their proposal would have imposed a 3 percent cap on how much the minimum wage could increase each year, along with changing the requirements for tipped employees.

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