NM Attorney General Still Looking at PERA Raises, Launches Probe into Simon Drobik's OT Pay
Ask and you shall know, sorta
The ABQReport asked the New Mexico Attorney General for an update regarding the investigation into PERA Executive Director Wayne Propst. If you remember he was the target of a scathing letter to the NMAG, written by New Mexico Treasurer Tim Eichenberg, asking the NMAG to open an investigation into how Propst had been managing PERA and specifically raises and promotions that he has given out. Propst gave these raises to his executive staff, while at the same time stating that PERA is going insolvent.
To address this alleged insolvency, Propst, with some members of the PERA Board, are trying to halt the 2% cost of living adjustments for thousands of PERA retirees. PERA staff do not automatically receive raises given by the legislature and governor. PERA raises are paid for out of the PERA fund. PERA is a quasi-state agency that does not fall under the management of the governor but of the PERA Board. Here is the response from Matt Baca representing NMAG Hector Balderas:
"The PERA review is ongoing, and we anticipate reaching a conclusion in the near future."
We also asked about rumors that Balderas has opened an investigation into Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik, related to his astronomical salary over the last few years. To refresh your memory, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency did a preliminary investigation into Drobik’s $192,000 salary in 2018.
The investigation determined that he violated APD Standard Operating Procedures dozens of times. The CPOA investigation found that Drobik was signing up for outside overtime assignments while he was on call as the department public information officer, that he left an overtime assignment (where a private vendor was paying him) to do his PIO work and that he was claiming comp time for running with cadets (which he was not authorized to claim). The Police Oversight Board reviewed the investigation and recommended that Drobik and at least one supervisor be terminated. APD Chief Mike Geier ignored this recommendation. Drobik still serves as one of several PIO’s at APD.
Matt Baca with the NMAG provided this response to our inquiry:
"With respect to Officer Drobik, the Office of the Attorney General has received multiple complaints about the issue that are under review."
We will continue to update you on the status of the “reviews” by the NMAG.