Monday, March 30, 2015

Meetings begin in earnest and in secret

The APS School Board will meet this coming Thursday morning, link.  The meeting has to do with hiring the next superintendent.  It will be conducted in secret from stake and interest holders.

The board is required by law, to tell us what it is they intend to discuss and act upon in secret.

The words used in the law are "reasonably specific."
The board is supposed to be reasonably specific with regard to describing their intentions.  Instead, the board and their million dollar a year "communications" effort comes with this;
We are meeting in secret...

for the Purpose of Discussion of a Limited Personnel Matter regarding the Superintendent Search (Discussion/Action)
What does that mean?  We would know about as much
if they had just offered;
We're going to close the doors and
"do some "school board" stuff".
How are board members supposed to be held accountable (at election) for their part in this process if the most of the process takes place in secret?

The worst thing any politician or public servant can do,
is anything they do in unnecessary secret from the people
who must "trust them" with control of their power and resources.

There will be no recording made of Thursday's meeting, nor of
any other of their meetings in secret.  They would have you believe that law prevents them from making an incontrovertible record; a recording the meeting.  It doesn't; it only ""allows" them that option.

It is their deliberate choice, and only possible because they are not actually accountable to any standards of conduct that prohibit unethical conduct. The standards they establish and enforce upon students, in stark contrast, require students, on a daily basis;
"to model and promote" personal accountability to  ethical standards of conduct; standards which require from them;
a willingness to do "more than the law requires and less than the law allows".
Were school board members and superintendents actually accountable as role models of student standards of conduct; they could be compelled to be more candid, forthright and honest in their communication with stake and interest holders.

But the truth is; they cannot be held accountable as role models; not since they voted unanimously to remove the role modeling clause from their own standards of conduct.  It used to read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adults
be lower than the standards of conduct for students.
Now, according to them and their lawyers, they are accountable only to the law; the standards of conduct that every higher standard of conduct, is higher than.

And not just the law,  but the law as practiced by unscrupulous lawyers who are making a fortune off cost is no object litigation against the public interests in a relentless effort to enable school board members and senior administrators to escape accountability for breaking the law.

I asked the Journal to investigate and report upon their abuse of the secret aspects of the superintendent hiring process, and the Journal did not respond.

The Journal is in apparent agreement still, with the leadership of the APS with regard to how little of the truth, the people really can handle.

Or for that manner, have a right to know.

Friday, March 27, 2015

APS Superintendent to be hired in secret

For all their blowing about how openly and transparently the next superintendent will be selected, the brunt of the decision making will take place in secret.

The board will adjourn into "executive sessions"; meetings in secret from the communities and community members they serve; in secret from the people whose trust and treasure they are spending.

The very first thing they will do is turn off all recording devices.  The law does not require them to turn off their recorders.  Rather, weakness in the law allows them to "not create" an incontrovertible record of the meeting.  It is important because they have a history of making decisions in secret that they couldn't defend in court.

There are good and ethical reasons for some government to take place in secret.  Some discussions really should take place in private; some public records really should remain unpublished.

That said, the worst thing a politician or public servant can do is anything they do in unnecessary secret from the people whose power they wield and whose resources they spend.

Therefore the need is for more disclosure not less.

Is there any reason why we can't insist upon knowing what they intend to do and ask in secret?  The law requires their "reasonable specificity".  No specificity is not reasonable specificity no matter how much money they are willing to squander in litigation against the public interests.

The Journal has a responsibility to inform the democracy. 

How are the people supposed to hold school board members accountable at election if they are uninformed about their public service?

Call upon the Journal to investigate and report on your behalf;

What does the board intend to do in their meetings in secret?  What questions do they intend to ask, the responses to which stake and interest holders are better off not hearing?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

NM FOG's future looking up

I will begin by disclosing my upset with the NM Foundation for Open Government.  It colors both my perception of the past performance and expectations of their future performance.

In 2010 I was looking to the FOG for help in exposing APS' cover up of felony criminal misconduct involving senior APS administrators.  In particular, I was looking to them for help in getting APS (the board,Supt Winston Brooks, and their lawyers) to produce public records of the findings of several investigations into the senior administrators' federal felony criminal abuse of a criminal database and, the state felony criminal misappropriation of money in evidence.

Instead, the NM FOG (Journal Editor Kent Walz and Defendant and former APS School Board heavy hitter Marty Esquivel) gave Brooks their most prestigious award for transparency.

The records are being hidden still, by APS, their lawyers and legal weaselry, in litigation that altogether has cost taxpayers nearly three quarters of a million dollars and will likely cost a quarter million more before the dust settles.
Frankly, it's history hard to ignore.

On a more positive note, both
Esquivel and Walz have moved
on from the FOG.

Esquivel, after the FOG wouldn't
back, link, his ridiculous new
public participation policy, link.

In his letter of resignation from the
FOG Board of Directors, Esquivel
offered FOG his continued support;
which will not include, I assume,
bamboozling the FOG into giving another Dixon Award to someone leading a cover up of public corruption.

For his part, Walz' life after FOG still includes Journal support for the cover up of the cover up of felony criminal misconduct in the leadership of APS Police force.

And by logical extension; the cover up of corruption and incompetence in the leadership of the APS in general.

FOG has some new leadership; perhaps that will help. 

The FOG has a new President,
Gregory Williams.

Most recently, he penned a piece
for the Journal on March 18, link.

Not surprisingly, his letter didn't
help pass legislation that would
make state government more
transparent.  No one's letter did.

Bills that would have provided for public comment at public meetings and for the archiving of video records of legislative meetings died, again.

My hope for the FOG is that it will become more proactive in the fight for transparency.

The movement needs a leader.  Williams and the FOG could be the leaders of a movement to end the cultures of corruption and incompetence in politics and public service by making it impossibly difficult to hide corruption and incompetence by hiding public records, closing meetings, or limiting public participation in open meetings.

The only thing missing from Williams letter was the leadership; the mention of the time, the day and place where those who support transparency could rally in numbers large enough to compel the change we need.

photos Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

APS superintendent candidates list pried loose

Before I begin, I must report my surprise at the number of applicants (assuming they're all qualified and genuinely interested).  I wrote in error of a paucity of candidates. link.
In the Journal this morning, link, a list of candidates for APS Supt and a report on the board's reluctance to surrender a public record.
APS had previously said that it would not release the applicant names until April 2. Lawyers for the Albuquerque Journal wrote to the school district last week pointing out that the Journal had requested the applicant names and arguing that the state’s Inspection of Public Records Act did not allow them to be withheld.
I am amused always when I read that the Journal is having trouble getting APS to produce public records.  This because, the rest of the time the Journal leads readers to believe that APS is heroically transparent.  It was the Journal, Kent Walz, who with Marty Esquivel, bamboozled the NM FOG into giving Winston Brooks a Dixon Award, link.

The proof of the pudding, they say, is in the eating.
The proof in this process will be in the transparency that characterizes it.

In the past, they have selected superintendents in meetings in (unnecessary and therefore unjustifiable) secret from stake and interest holders. They close the doors on stake and interest holders and TURN OFF the recorders.

They will not record these or any other of their meetings in secret.
If a judge at some time has been convinced that something untoward took place in one of these meetings, there will be no record to review. why not?

What is it, exactly, that they intend discuss in secret from the people whose power and resources are at stake?

The board is required by law, to tell us what it is they intend discuss and decide in secret. They are required law, to come out of their meetings and tell us what they actually did discuss and decide. The law requires the list to be "reasonably specific".

They have never been "reasonably specific" before.
If they do this time, it will be the first time.

Journal readers have no idea how little transparency there really is, in the leadership of the APS.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

$4.6M; there is another way

The leadership of the APS would like to save $4.6M by turning the entire high school population out on the streets every Thursday afternoon.

I see unexpected consequences due to the incompetence of whomever could not expect that tens of thousands of teenagers driving around isn't going to cause foreseeable problems.

There is another way to come up with that amount of money or more.

When taxpayers bought apartments in the sky for the leadership of the APS, it was with an expressed commitment of the leadership of the APS, link, to rent out one of the buildings to pay for the other.

Brad Winter still won't tell the truth about spending here, link.

It's not too late.

photo Mark Bralley

Both of two controverting "facts" cannot be true

The Journal and APS would have you believe that the APS graduation rate grew 20% under Marty Esquivel and Winston Brooks. Phenomenal growth by any standard. Record growth.

When the graduation rate collapsed, link, it wasn't because of class scheduling; it was because the professed numbers were a lot of smoke and mirrors to begin with.  They never reflected sustainable growth.

Now the Journal and APS would like us to believe that the only reason the growth was limited to 20%, is because the schedule that supported the 20% improvement, doesn't work.

We are to believe shortening classes and increasing teacher workload is going to produce even more graduates.

Right, and a pint of Häagen-Dazs serves four.

Oh, and letting the entire high school population out on the streets every Thursday afternoon, how could that possibly go wrong?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New APS Supt promised in 22 days; board short on candidates

The APS School Board voted unanimously last night, to extend their time limit in hiring APS' next real superintendent.  According to the Journal, link,

The Albuquerque Public Schools board Wednesday voted unanimously to approve a new timeline for its superintendent search that will allow more time for candidates to apply for the position.
APS School Board President Donald Duran suggested that the delay was due to board member scheduling conflicts.  If the real problems are conflicting schedules, I would remind them on the subject of scheduling conflicts;
Board Member Candidate Requirements, link, read in significant part;
... elected members of the APS Board of Education must commit to: ... Two regular board meetings per month (and) Special board meetings when called (usually two per month) (and) Additional meetings such as executive meetings, briefings and others as needed.
Those with conflicting acting gigs and comedy tours are expected to not run for a seat on the board in the first place.

The red herring flopping around in the coverage was dragged in by Duran;
“The extension of the deadline had nothing to do with who had applied,” school board President Don Duran said. He said the board has not seen who has applied."
The question is not yet "who" has applied.  It is "how many"?

The real problem, the one about which they are not being candid, forthright and honest, is the lack of qualified candidates.  Which begs a most important question;
Why aren't qualified candidates interested APS?
What is it about this slot that makes it so unattractive to qualified candidates?

Too bad there isn't a local newspaper willing to pull on that thread.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So great is the fear, of subordinate evaluation

The Journal reports, link; the City Council has decided to spend $6K on a survey of retired and could retire if they want to, police officers. If done well, the survey should provide some good and perhaps useful data.

As would a similar survey of police officers altogether.
Why not survey every police officer?

If it is understood why retirees need to be asked about morale for example, how can it not be understood why every police officer needs to be asked about their and departmental morale?

There isn't a better indicator of organizational health than morale.  That, and whether there is retaliation against whistleblowers. Every police officer needs to be asked if they can report superordinate incompetence or corruption without retaliation.

A list could be made, of reasons to not broaden the survey.  Added cost for one.  All of those reasons together, pale in comparison to the main reason why not;

(Powerful) people hide (or don't gather) the truth
to avoid the consequences of the truth being known.
If a survey of all cops would suggest they had confidence in their leadership, the leadership would be conducting surveys at the end of every shift.

It really isn't power that corrupts.  It is the opportunity to abuse power without consequence that corrupts, absolutely.

One of the ways powerful people abuse power is to use their power to escape actual, honest accountability;
  • they survey part of a group of stake and interest holders rather than all of them
  • they will ask only questions, the responses to which, are not likely to be useful in personally identifying incompetent or corrupt, but powerful, supervisors and senior leadership.
It is human nature to yield to temptation.
The greater the temptation, the more likely the surrender.

The key to eliminating incompetence and corruption in politics and public service, is to make them impossibly difficult to hide.

Survey more subordinates, not fewer.

Monday, March 16, 2015

APS Virtual School in the works

APS is "planning" to open a virtual school next fall.  Why?  Not that it's a bad thing; it isn't.  It's a good thing, but why are they doing it?

According the Journal, link, the district's interests are in recovering students that have fled APS and enrolled in virtual schools in Santa Fe and Farmington.

"A virtual school might help APS out financially, APS Chief Financial Officer Don Moya said during community forum last Tuesday ..."

"... a virtual school could bring students back to the district and potentially raise revenues."

Interim Supt Brad Winter described a different interest;

"We’ve said it before:
Education no longer is one size fits all ... “Our goal is to help each of our students, no matter their learning style or preference...”

But only those who leave the building.

Those who remain in classes of thirty students in five rows of six desks there to be "standardized", will not see their individual learning styles or preferences even acknowledged, much less accommodated.

The creation of independent lifelong learners will have to be the mission of out of schooling; not of in-schooling.

It really is just about the money.

photos Mark Bralley

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Test scores, teacher evaluation and truancy

There is consensus that students who are not in school cannot learn; that even the best teachers cannot teach students who are not there.

Since teachers have no control over whether students are truant, how can they be held accountable for truancy (by means of poor test performance by chronically absent students)?

For that matter, how can they be held accountable for the test performance of chronically disruptive students?  Or for that matter, the test performance of the students whose learning those students disrupt?

My two cents* on truancy

"two cents", wikilink.

Quite a report this morning in the Journal, link, by reporter Jon Swedien, on truancy in the APS.

Did you know;

"The habitual truancy numbers collected by the state are based on unexcused absences*. Those rates more than double in APS when excused absences are included.

In APS, the percentage of kindergarten students who missed 10 or more days for any reason last year was 37 percent.

That number dropped to 28 percent in the third and fourth grades. But it shot up to 47 percent in the eighth grade, when experts say many students drop out. In high school, 39 to 42 percent of students missed 10 or more days."
*From an educational standpoint, it makes no difference whether an absence is excused or not; there is the same amount of work to be done and ground to make up.  To "collect" only half the truth serves only the interests of those who want to be held accountable for only half the truth.

The system cuts off its nose to spite its face in punishing truancy academically.  The reality is; a student who cuts school one day, will not come back the next day and do twice as much work in order to catch up.  Instead, they fall further behind.

Clearly a student who chooses to cut school has still to learn the material they missed; a hard enough task by itself.  Then we compound their predicament by expecting them "catch up" and if they don't catch up (to an arbitrary standard pace) they enter further learning disadvantaged by the material they have not mastered.

The problem is fundamental.  Same old, same old is a failure. There needs to be open and honest public re-examination of the fundamental assumptions about educating children. 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

New Board Members and Committee Chairs

The Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education elected new officers and swore in newly elected members at their regular meeting on March 4, link.

Dr. Donald Duran was elected President.

Dr. Analee Maestas was elected Vice President.

Steven Michael Quezada was elected to continue as Secretary.

Barbara Peterson will serve as chairperson of old District and Community Relations Committee; now the Equity and Engagement Committee.

Peggy Muller-Aragón will chair the Finance Committee
Maestas will chair the Audit Committee.

Lorenzo Garcia will continue as chairperson of the Capital Outlay, Property and Technology Committee, and

Dr. David Peercy will hold on to the chair of the Policy and Instruction Committee where he will continue to obstruct open and honest public discussion of ethics, standards and accountability in the leadership of the APS.

Duran gave us a glimpse of a positive new direction for public forum.  His first motion as Board President was to move to extend the public forum time limit to include some speakers who otherwise would not have be allowed to speak.

Kudos to him and the unanimous agreement the board offered.

photo Mark Bralley

Editorial rips APS board, misses point.

The editors are deeply upset over a decision the board made last Wednesday, link.

"Albuquerque Public Schools parents, teachers and voters should be scratching their heads over the votes cast by Board of Education members David Peercy, Barbara Petersen, Lorenzo Garcia, Steven Michael Quezada and Peggy Muller-Aragon to keep their elementary school students on a forced march to sub-par performance."
The editors are so upset they urge "parents, teachers and voters to remember" what they have done. emphasis added.

They accuse Peercy, Peterson, Garcia, Quesada and Muller-Aragon of rejecting the turnaround plan because they "... have a political agenda or believe New Mexico, by golly, needs to come up with a home-grown solution ..."

Wait a minute!  They believe that New Mexico, by golly,
should be able to come up with a plan of its own?

Why doesn't New Mexico,  why doesn't the APS, have a plan of their own already?

Read the plan, link.  You will find no rocket science, no magic and no magicians required.

You will find nothing that APS could not be doing already but is not.

That these things are not being done represents a leadership failure.

It is evidence of a lack of actual, honest accountability to high enough standards of competence for middle and senior administrators in the APS.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Superintendent search to begin in earnest

With Board Members Barbara Peterson and Peggy Muller-Aragón on board, the APS School Board will begin the exercise of hiring Brad Winter's replacement.

They will hire a superintendent according to one or the other of two sets of interests.  They will hire in the best interests of students or in the best interests of "the district" including their own.

Though those interests should coincide; sometimes they don't;

hiring a supt in the best interests of students would not be in the best interests of for example, any of the incompetent and corrupt in the administration of the APS.
When politicians and public servant's public obligations and personal interests conflict, is the time when oversight over their decision making is most crucial.

Yet, the board's real decision making will be done in secret from stake and interest holders.  The board and a handful of others will adjourn into "executive session".  They will close the doors and there will be nothing but their trustworthiness to protect the public interests during their decision making.

OK, so how trustworthy are they?  Does it say something that they will not record their meetings in secret?  Does it say something that they don't want some judge sometime, to have a record to review?

The worst thing any politician or public servant can do,
is anything they do in unnecessary secret
from those whose power and resources they are spending.

Their justifiably secret decision making needs to be described with reasonable specificity.  There is no ethical justification whatsoever for their relentless refusal to record their meetings in secret. 

Among the questions that superintendent candidates should expect to be asked in interviews, are a few questions they really don't want to ask in public, but can't ethically justify secrecy.  They are  awkward questions because the public perception and the truth are so disparate.  Take for example role modeling.  An obvious question is;
Are you ready, willing and able to be a role model?  Are you ready, willing and able to show students what it looks like to hold oneself honestly accountable to meaningful standards of conduct and competence?
The answer for public consumption should be;
Oh heck ya!
The truth is;
There is not a single person in the entire leadership of the APS who is actually accountable to the same standards of conduct as students.  Nor will be, the next superintendent; the senior-most administrative role model of honest accountability to meaningful standards of conduct and competence.
At one point, APS School Board Policy included a role modeling clause.  It read;
In no case shall the standards of conduct for an adult
be lower than the standards for students.
It no longer does.  They removed it; by unanimous resolution.

The Policy Committee will meet this week.
Not on their agenda;
Open and honest public discussion of the restoration of the Role Modeling Clause to their code of conduct.

We don't need no stinkin'
role modeling clause! , link
It will never be on the agenda,
for as long as David Peercy
chairs the Policy Committee
and, for as long as he cannot
summon the character and
the courage to allow open
and honest public discussion
of ethics, standards and
accountability in the APS.

It will never be on the agenda
for as long as Peercy enjoys the aid and abet of the Journal in the cover up of an ethics, standards and accountability scandal in the leadership of the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

Friday, March 06, 2015

Senate Bill 563 Insane!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.
Albert Einstein
State Senator Joseph Cervantes, link, is the sponsor of Senate Bill 563, link; an effort to lengthen the school year.

Cervantes believes doing the same thing but more will yield different results.  I believe he is wrong.

It's rather like driving further on a flat tire, in hope of fixing it.

The problem with public education is not that there isn't enough of it - though there is not. 

The problem with public education is that it is based on the premise that students must learn in unison; each on the same page, in the same book, on the same day, preparing for tests which them must all take at the same time. 

There is no greater obstacle to learning than
the relentless emphasis placed on standardizing it.

Nobody is even asking anymore; why?
Even if we could make children learn in unison,
why would we want to?

Why do we need to standardize the educational performance of children having little in common at any given moment, other than their age and the neighborhood they live in?

In lieu of a better idea, or in doing the same thing "more", I propose a change in the mission; from "standardizing individual performance" to "maximizing individual performance";
create independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.
Sure, at some point students who want to graduate must pass standardized tests in order to validate their diploma and certificate of graduation.  But they don't all have to pass them on the same day and they don't have to arrive at them by exactly the same path.  Some may take them a year later; some may take them years early.  And why not?

Students don't need more schooling;
they need better schooling.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

APS' PARCC protests illustrate an underlying problem; a greater one

Before beginning, I would like to draw a distinction among the students who walked out in protest over the PARCC exam; this post is about students who walked out on principle as opposed to those who simply went along for the hell of it.

Students have Constitutionally protected human rights to protest.  They have also, as good citizens, the obligation to follow the rules.

Students who walked out, believe they are being civilly disobedient; a behavior that is often celebrated in cultural heroes.

civil disobedience: refusal to obey laws as a way of forcing the government to do or change something
The leadership of the APS consider the students who walked out, to be "breaking the rules" and liable for consequences.

So, civil disobedience or simple disobedience?
The distinction is not without difference.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible
will make violent revolution inevitable."  John F. Kennedy
Civil disobedience is almost never the appropriate first step in forcing change.  Students argue this wasn't their first step; that they have made other attempts to force change and, that their efforts were futile.

If the basic purpose of democracy is to allow peaceful revolution; the democracy must respond in good faith to peaceful revolution.  If students did in fact make civilly obedient efforts to provoke change, and if those efforts did not result in "the government's" good faith response, then "the government" provoked the disobedience.

The underlying and yet to be examined problem the PARCC protests illustrate is; the lack of control over students in schools.

The number of "out of control*" students is APS is growing; in both absolute and relative terms;
  • the absolute number of students who are out of control is increasing and, as "under control" students flee to charter schools,
  • the relative proportion of out of control to under control students left in classrooms will increase at a faster rate than their absolute number.  
*Out of control; when an adult at school tells a student; stop doing that, and the student's response means no, that student is "out of (the) control" of that adult.

The out of control in students is the result of years and years of the executive and administrative permission of prohibited behavior*;
  • Students are told to not do certain things, 
  • they are promised "consequences" if they do, 
  • they do those things anyway and 
  • meaningful consequences are rarely if ever delivered.
*take for example "sagging"; clearly prohibited; manifestly permitted.  This is not about sagging.

Students will become increasingly out of control for as long as the leadership of the APS keeps their heads buried in the sand over student discipline and chronically disruptive students.  Asked for a PowerPoint presentation on student discipline in the APS, link, the leadership of the APS is stonewalling; refusing to be candid, forthright and honest with stake and interest holders about their failure to keep students under control at school.

They are enabled by the Journal
and its Editor in Chief Kent Walz,
who relentlessly refuse to
investigate and report upon
student discipline in the APS.

photo Mark Bralley

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Retiree survey delayed; scope will be addressed

At the City Council Meeting last night, link, City Councilor Diane Gibson moved to appropriate money to survey retired police officers.  Her motion was seconded.

First to speak after Gibson was
CABQ Chief Administrative Officer
Rob Perry.

My jaw does not drop often; but
it did when Perry suggested widening the scope of the survey.

Perry is not a man with a history of wantingly gathering data that might make the Mayor and his Chief of Police look bad. You will remember how Perry behaved when the press was inquiring after Darren White's apparent misconduct; he threw a handful of papers at them.  And, that was only the beginning, link.

I suspect he has had himself involved in order to do damage control.  It's a small step from being the one who decides "who" gets surveyed to deciding "how" they will be surveyed and the questions they will be asked.

The smart money is on Perry finding some way to make certain the survey doesn't produce any results that might cost someone their job or an election.

Next to speak, City Councilor Brad
Winter.  In stark contrast to his want
and practice as an APS senior
administrator and Interim
Superintendent; Winter argued in
support of Perry's suggestion to widen
the scope of an employee survey.

He quickly reverted to his APS roots and suggested that "... we all define the scope" of the survey. emphasis added.

Again, insinuate yourself in the process in order that later you can steer it.

Avoid like the plague, powerful people who want to write the survey by which they will be evaluated.

The scope of the survey should be defined by stake and interest holders; not by politicians and public servants with conflicting interests in the scope of the survey.

Councilor Don Harris suggested a two week deferral in order that the sponsor could sit down with Rob Perry.  Harris argued;

"Let's do it once and do it right".
I can't agree more. But Rob Perry? seriously?

Who but the Mayor and his Chief of Police would want Rob Perry to decide who and how surveys will be done?

photos Mark Bralley

Monday, March 02, 2015

Why are you leaving? is the right question to ask cops

The Journal informed the democracy this morning, link.
The information they provided will be of use to those who both care and are willing to do something about what they care about.

 "Councilor Diane Gibson, a Democrat, is sponsoring legislation that would call for an independent group to survey retiring officers and ask them why they are leaving the Albuquerque Police Department."
'"The intention here is to get data and make better-informed decisions regarding (officer) retention," City Councilor Diane Gibson says."
Good as far as it goes.  I find myself wondering;
by what logic are the opinions of one group of police officers valuable, and the opinions of all of the other police officers are not?

There are some fundamental truths about surveys such as the one they contemplate;
  • People whose incompetence and or corruption will be exposed, will do everything they can to diminish the gravitas of the results.
  • The smaller the survey sample, the easier to ignore.
  • Surveys will be limited to groups sizes that cannot be extrapolated to the population.
  • Surveys will be anonymous*
*Anonymity, for whatever reason it is granted, makes it harder to use survey results to hold powerful people individually actually, honestly accountable for their character and competence.

The need for anonymity points to fear of retaliation over truth telling. If there is a more important indicator of organizational ill health, than fear of retaliation against whistleblowers, I cannot imagine it.
"... a report on the survey's findings would be created."  
Then to be redacted as they need and fought over, under the Inspection of Public Records Act.
"... there likely would be additional surveys of the annual retirees.
Written by whom?  Surveys written the politician and public servants and creating an appearance of a conflict of interests, and possibly of impropriety?

Police officer organizations are on board;
 "Bob Martinez, the president of the state Fraternal Order of Police, said the survey would be an “excellent idea.” "One issue (affecting police retirements) may be wages and working conditions, and another may be how officers feel related to doing their jobs and not getting the support or backing by management and people in the community,” Martinez said. “Those are concerns (among police officers) across the state. But I don’t think they have the dramatic intensity that exists in Albuquerque.” emphasis added

Shaun Willoughby, the vice president of the Albuquerque Police Officers Association, said he liked the idea of the bill but said it’s crucial the surveys are anonymous.I wouldn’t want to leave on a bad impression by saying something detrimental to the organization,”* he said.
By all means, let's not say something "detrimental".
How would that look?
Who cares how it "looks"?  People standing up for what they believe in, don't get to stop, nor should they want to, because it might leave a "bad impression".

Finally; someone has to ask,
why is the concept of surveying retirees coming up now?
Why haven't they been surveying retirees (and others) all along?

An important question is what "leader" of ours, is personally responsible for the fact that no data has been gathered on why police officers are leaving the APD?

Those who believe in "the buck stops here" accountability, would hold Mayor Richard Berry accountable for never wondering, and or never hiring a subordinate who would wonder in his stead;

Why can't we find enough good men and 
women to staff a top notch police department?

The bill is on the agenda for action at tonight’s City Council meeting; 5 p.m. at One Civic Plaza NW.  

photo  Mark Bralley