College has a four-year curriculum to earn a degree.
When you’re the only student in the class, there is no bell-curve grading, and you rise and fall in grades with your own accomplishments.
June 1 marks Mayor Tim Keller’s anniversary for his first semester of the first year of his four-year term in office.
Based on the list of accomplishments for Mayor Keller’s first six months in office, following are the classes and assigned grades:
PUBLIC RELATIONS: “A” because Mayor Keller attends all required public functions, appears to enjoy them all and makes himself available to the public. He represents the city in such a manner citizens can take great pride in the image he portrays as he appears and speaks always with a smile on his face and a grin in his voice.
EXPLANATION: Public relations is like gym class. It is easy to get an “A,” and it sure can raise your grade point average among voters and go a long way to get you re-elected.
APPOINTMENTS OF DEPARTMENT HEADS: “B” for being able to assemble a management team to coincide with his philosophy and to carry out his programs.
EXPLANATION: Appointing department heads is considered an easy “A” because you surround yourself with people you like, and they owe their loyalty and living to you. There is no problem making appointments based on political loyalty as long as the person appointed is qualified and can do the job. Political appointments must have a proper vetting process because they can make or break an administration. This grade was brought down to a “B” for Keller’s failure to have a proper vetting process in place for city clerk and city attorney.
PUBLIC SAFETY: “C” for proposing an Albuquerque Police Department expansion plan and indications he has the ability to work with the public safety unions of police and fire, which now have approved contracts. The grade in this class has been reduced by the fact Albuquerque continues to have high crime rates and the murder rate is out of control.
EXPLANATION: Public Safety is probably the hardest subject for any mayor to undertake and good grades are usually very difficult to attain unless crime rates are down. High crime rates can make anyone a one-term mayor.
APD REFORMS: “D” for not going above and beyond to do more than make a commitment to implement reforms required under the Department of Justice Settlement Agreement.
EXPLANATION: This is probably the third-hardest subject for Keller to tackle, given APD’s history of resistance to the reforms. Keller’s grade was brought down for failing his first test to take issue with APD interim Chief Michael Geier and defending APD’s evidence gathering in a child-abuse case, saying that no policies or procedures were violated. The mayor and chief’s defense reflects nothing has changed with APD management.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: “F” for his total failure to outline any economic development plan to bring new industry and jobs to Albuquerque.
EXPLANATION: This is the second-hardest subject, second to public safety, for any mayor to tackle, and affects virtually every citizen and the taxes they pay. If you do not bother to take an exam, you should expect a failing grade.
Mayor Keller’s grade point average for his first six months in office is a “C” average.
Trajectory indications from the first six months, the media relations, the executive appointments made and the accomplishment are that Albuquerque is set to have another uninspiring approach to government filled with extensive photo ops, ribbon-cuttings and social media communications.
Mayor Keller has 3½ years left in office to get his grades up, but if his first semester grades are any indication of what we are in store for, he may not graduate to any higher office, let alone be re-elected mayor come 2021.