- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Despite allegations that she is breaking city rules, state Rep. Emily Kane is trying to hold down her second job as an Albuquerque firefighter.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports (http://bit.ly/1gFfhgI) Republican Mayor Richard Berry’s administration is appealing a 2012 court ruling that found Kane, a fire captain and a Democrat, was not violating city rules by holding public office.

The New Mexico Court of Appeals panel will hear arguments in the case Jan. 28, a week after Kane begins the legislative session.

City officials say Kane flouted policies that prohibit municipal employees from running for office.

Lawyers for Kane, 57, say a state law permitting public-safety workers to seek office trumps city restrictions.

A firefighter for 20 years, Kane overcame a three-way primary to defeat a Republican in the general election for her legislative seat. She trades shifts with other firefighters or takes a leave of absence to attend legislative session. While there are other public employees - including teachers and a school superintendent - who serve in the Legislature, none of them work for the city of Albuquerque.

Kane initially sued when officials said there would be disciplinary action if she ran for the Legislature. In a brief in the appeals court, city attorneys argued that other courts had ruled that banning government employees from pursuing public office was not unconstitutional.

Kane’s legal team has argued that two other Albuquerque firefighters were previously able to hold elective positions. City lawyers said those cases were somehow unnoticed by administrators.

The city has also made an example of a former gubernatorial candidate who worked for the state. In the 1980s, Jack Harkleroad, a state police lieutenant, declared his candidacy for governor. The state Supreme Court upheld a 30-day suspension without pay issued by the state police chief.

In the 2012 ruling, State District Judge Beatrice Brickhouse said Kane’s case was different because the Legislature does not oversee the Albuquerque Fire Department.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

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