Union votes “NO-CONFIDENCE” in police chief, two deputy chiefs

Posted: February 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Santa Fe Police Officers Association (the union for the city cops) has tallied the votes and it is now official: They are not confident in Police Chief Aric Wheeler or either of his two deputy chiefs: Robin Contreras and Abram Anaya.


The vote is symbolic and the union says they aren’t looking for jobs, just acknowledgment that they are frustrated and feel their collective bargaining agreement with the city is being repeatedly violated.

The primary issues that led to the vote seem to be allegations of general mismanagement of the department and disregard for procedures spelled out in the CBA between the City of Santa Fe and the union. The “straw that broke the camel’s back,” according to union vice president Adam Gallegos, was a recent decision to alter the work schedule for the patrol division from four 10-hour shifts per week to five 8-hour shifts.

Here is a link to a Friday article spelling out some of the details of what led up to the vote:

While it isn’t as closely tied to a specific issue, Wheeler being two years away from retirement age with the department is something several union members have expressed to me might be a big issue with his unwillingness, in the union’s eyes, to stand up to City Hall. Wheeler says that isn’t an issue, but the fact is the perception among some in the department is that he’s afraid to rock the boat too much with City Manager Robert Romero and Assistant City Attorney Mark Allen (they of the November “No-Confidence” vote) because if he does, he could be fired. If that happens he would not be able to receive that great retirement package cops get (it isn’t going to make someone rich, but make not mistake, it’s one of the top perks of being a cop in Santa Fe).

Gallegos pointed out Friday evening when I talked with him that he felt it was telling that the shift change affected only about 80 of the 135 members of the union, yet Friday’s turn out was the largest for a union vote since a “no-confidence” vote in the 1990s for former chief Don Grady. There were 117 members who voted in this week’s five-day voting window.

Enough of my babbling… here are the vote’s results (not full membership voted and not all 117 voters voted on each ballot option so the totals, I know, don’t all add up to 117… I included the abstain votes in the percentages):


  • Chief Aric Wheeler: 80.3 percent have “no confidence” (94 no confidence votes; 17 confidence votes; 6 abstain)
  • Deputy chief Robin Contreras: 83.8 percent have “no confidence” (98 no confidence votes; 13 confidence votes; 6 abstain)
  • Deputy chief Abram Anaya: 74.4 percent have “no confidence” (94 no confidence votes; 17 confidence votes; 5 abstain)

Check Saturday’s New Mexican for more on the vote, which also included two ballot questions asking officers to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 their moral and the overall department morale.

SPOILER ALERT: … they aren’t happy.

  1. Henretta Salazar says:

    The Police Chief needs to step to the plate and tell the Mayor and the City Manager to let him do his job without micro-management interference. I assume the city budget is tight but that should not be the reason why the City Mayor and City Manager should be sticking thier noses into police operations, labor and employee grievances issues. Lastly, the Mayor really should step to the plate and become an ambassador of good will and work with the Police Union and their families. But as usual, if he does not have the courage to speak up and defend police officer’s, then, nothing will change for the betterment of the entire city and public safety issues will be null and void.

  2. det. gfinney says:


  3. det.gfinney says:

    This vote of no confidence is an unfortunate thing. Lets vote on the integrity of the Union Board. The ‘facts’ presented to the members were flawed. Is it strange to anyone else that the cops most upset with Chief Wheeler are the ones that AREN’T buried with cases to work? Hello? Are you guys already bored..?

  4. Supermarkmtz says:

    I’m all for the 8 hour shifts. This will help meet the needs of the customers who require, and pay for, police coverage 24×7. It has never made sense to me that critical services like police, fire and hospital services have 10 or 12 hour shifts. Services like these require fresh minds and bodies, so that additional mistakes (life critical) are not made due to exhaustion.

    As for unions, I’ll just say I think they are an unfortunate burden on the economy for customers of the organizations they extort their influence on.

  5. […] Feb. 25, the Santa Fe Police Officers Association passed “no-confidence” votes on Police Chief Aric Wheeler and his two deputy chiefs, Abram Anaya and Robin […]

  6. […] Union votes “NO-CONFIDENCE” in police chief, two deputy chiefs […]

  7. […] this case, former chief Aric Wheeler made the decision back in February and quickly received a “no confidence” vote from the city with that shift change proposal being described as the straw that broke the camels […]

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