Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal
Another longtime member of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency board has resigned, bringing the board back down to five members.
To be fully staffed the board should have nine members. Four members resigned late last year and the City Council had recently appointed a new member.
The CPOA and its board have been experiencing turmoil in recent months, and earlier this month the City Council amended the ordinance governing it.
William Kass, a retired scientist who has served on the CPOA board since 2017, sent in a letter of resignation on Wednesday, saying he did so with regret.
In a phone interview, Kass said the changes to the ordinance did not address the process by which city councilors select candidates to serve on the board.
In his letter, Kass said he had found serving on the board to be rewarding and he believes the best way to change police culture is to build relationships with the Albuquerque Police Department, the Department of Justice, the City Council, the independent monitor overseeing the reform effort and the community.
However, he said, the board “has not taken its defined obligations seriously – instead focusing on individual members’ agendas.”
As an example, Kass cited the board’s posting of the previous executive director’s job to outside applicants after giving him a satisfactory job evaluation, resisting attending an annual conference on civilian oversight of law enforcement, and more.
“These incidents are examples of serious board dysfunction,” Kass wrote. “The common theme is the apparent unwillingness of some board members to learn the basic skills and methods associated with conducting public business in general and police oversight in particular.”
During March’s meeting Kass had nominated himself to be chair of the board. Another member was voted in instead.