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Council drops plan to audit APD monitor

The city of Albuquerque has called off its request for an audit of James Ginger, the independent monitor overseeing a police reform effort, a City Council attorney said in court this month.

James Ginger

James Ginger

Jerry Walz, an attorney on contract for the City Council, said Lawrence Davis, the acting city auditor, would not be moving forward with an audit of Ginger. He made the statement during a status conference in front of U.S. District Judge Robert Brack earlier this month.

City Councilors Brad Winter, Ken Sanchez and Don Harris had called for the audit last year, saying they were concerned about how much money the city has paid Ginger and how many days he spends in Albuquerque.

Walz said in court the auditor was going to “discontinue or otherwise not move forward on any type of independent review or audit performance of Public Management Resources, Inc., and Mr. James Ginger,” according to a transcript of the hearing.

Sanchez said the audit was dropped after city councilors hired Walz to represent them in the police reform case. He said Walz can then bring concerns that city councilors have about Ginger to Brack.

“We will be working with our attorney and also we will be working with Judge Brack on the issue,” Sanchez said.

“We’re still going to look at a review, but not through the audit process. We still have concerns about the number of days (Ginger is in Albuquerque) and the billing process.”

Winter, on the other hand, said Wednesday that he was unaware the audit wasn’t moving forward.

“I think we’re going to go through with the audit,” he said. “When we go forward we still have to approve more money on his contract.”

Ginger and his company were selected by the city and the U.S. Department of Justice to monitor a yearslong reform effort underway by police.

The reforms are outlined in a settlement agreement that was reached between the two sides after a DOJ investigation found Albuquerque police had a pattern of excessive force and a culture of aggression.

The reforms include changing the way officers are trained on using force and how the department reviews police shootings.

Ginger’s initial contract covered four years at a cost of $4.5 million. But that contract will be up in the 2019 fiscal year, which starts this summer. City councilors are currently working on Ginger’s next payment schedule.

Davis said his office started working on the audit after city councilors requested one in October of last year. He said he received a memo Jan. 24 from the director of council services to discontinue the audit.