|AFSCME Council 18|
Back Pay: The Buck Stops...Nowhere!?
Martinez Administration Misleads AFSCME and Public by Claiming Contractor was Responsible for Back Pay Hold Up
AFSCME Obtains Information Showing Contractor Finished Job Months Ago
Fed up with endless delays, New Mexico Corrections Officers picketed in front of the NM State Personnel Office on Tuesday, Dec 9. The officers promise to return Thursday, Dec 11 in an effort to keep the back pay issue front and center in everyone's minds until every check is delivered.
New information obtained by AFSCME demonstrates that the contractor responsible for verifying back pay check amounts, BDO USA, LLP, finished billing their entire contracted amount of $1.6 Million in an October 10, 2014 invoice.
The contract spells out that no work shall be provided by the contractor after the entire amount of the contract has been bllled. It raises the question, why has Governor's Administration insisted since early October that BDO was the source of delay for approximately 5,000 checks not being printed and distributed?
This new information does not jive with repeated claims by State Personnel and the Governor's office that the complex calculations were bogging the contractor down and that they weren't delivering large numbers of verifications through late October and November.
AFSCME is calling on Governor Martinez to speak out and detail who, or what, is truly responsible for the delays. More than 5,000 NM public employees continue to wait for checks representing six years of stolen wages when a fiscal year 2009 AFSCME contract raise was underpaid.
AFSCME Local 1211 President Ken Long appeared before the December 5 State Personnel Board meeting demanding action from the board to get answers for employees. "During contract negotiations, former Personnel Director Gene Moser said union members were dumb as rocks. With all the delays and misinformation coming out from the state, we're starting to wonder, who is really 'dumb as rocks.'"
Miles Conway, AFSCME Communication Coordinator, requested the board take an active role and be the lead in promoting greater transparency around back pay issues. "In the absence of information, state employees are left to speculate on reasons for delay, when that happens, members jump to the worst conclusions."
In a good sign that at board members were responding to pressure, State Personnel Board member Dennis Garcia directed Justin Najaka, Executive Director of State Personnel, to seek out the list of checks which have been printed, which are still pending, and have it posted online. AFSCME had originally requested that list in October, but it had proved elusive.
Santa Fe area New Mexico Corrections Officers plan to picket from 10-2 pm tomorrow, Dec 11, at the Willie Ortiz Building, 2600 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe.
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