Meeting gets heated as residents support suspended police chief

New Mexico

It was standing room only at a city commission meeting as people came out to support Alamogordo’s suspended police chief. Now, residents want to know what he did wrong, and are calling for an investigation into the whole ordeal.

“You broke the confidence by not taking his complaints seriously and sending it to the city manager when that was the person who he was having problems with,” said Rich Merrick of Alamogordo. 

“Where is the documentation that’s saying he did not meet those goals and objectives?” another resident, Kathy Denton, asked.

Earlier this month, KRQE News 13 reported on Chief Brian Pette’s 10-day suspension without pay. While the city said it was because of poor performance, the chief believes it’s retaliation for sending a letter to the city commission, accusing city manager Maggie Paluch of unprofessional behavior and mishandling city funds.

Residents in Alamogordo have heard rumblings about what happened, and now they want an outside investigation into the city manager.

“Should you consider this, I believe the city manager and the city attorney should be placed on paid administrative leave during the time of the investigation,” Merrick said.

It was a conversation an Alamogordo commissioner didn’t want to hear.

“If anybody has any proof at all, anything at all, that proves that we’re mismanaging funds or that I personally have done something illegal…which by the way, defames my character and I really don’t appreciate it very much, but that’s a whole other story…personally I will drive you to Santa Fe,” said city Commissioner Susan Payne. “I will take you to the Attorney General’s office, I will take you to the State Auditor’s office. I have no problem with it because I am 1000 percent confident that that is not happening in the city.”

The city went on to say it will not be paying for an investigation into the allegations of misspending because the State Auditor is already looking into it.

The State Auditor’s office says that report should be released to the public sometime next week.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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