- Associated Press - Saturday, September 19, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Mayors from across New Mexico are banding together to advocate for local issues before state lawmakers.

Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry announced plans for a new caucus of mayors Friday while attending a summit of local leaders at the Albuquerque Convention Center.

“Our voices together are more powerful than our voices alone,” Berry said.

About half of New Mexico’s 105 mayors were at the two-day gathering, according to The Albuquerque Journal (http://bit.ly/1OlW4UZ ).

Berry intends to make the two-day gathering an annual event.

Senate Majority Whip Michael Padilla, an Albuquerque Democrat, also spoke at the summit. He asked mayors to simplify their message to lawmakers, who are often inundated with requests for legislation or state spending.

Padilla said lobbyists play a key role in making those decisions but it’s also important to hear directly from local officials.

One issue at the top of the mayors’ agenda is an effort to change pension laws.

Berry has pushed for changes that he believes would help grow local police forces by allowing officers to earn a salary and pension at the same time if working after retirement.

Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said it doesn’t make sense for officers to suspend their pensions if they want to keep working in the state once they leave the force. He said many retired officers get jobs outside of New Mexico so they can keep their pensions but keep working.

State lawmakers have resisted the idea thus far, saying pension funds area already strained.

___

Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide