Richard J. Berry

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Richard Berry
Mayor Richard J. Berry first photo.jpg
29th Mayor of Albuquerque
Assumed office
December 1, 2009
Preceded by Martin Chávez
Member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
from the 20th district
In office
January 3, 2007 – December 1, 2009
Preceded by Ted Hobbs
Succeeded by James White
Personal details
Born (1962-11-05) November 5, 1962 (age 52)
Waterloo, Iowa, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Maria Medina
Children Jacob
Alma mater University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Religion Roman Catholicism

Richard J. Berry (born November 5, 1962) is the twenty-ninth and current Mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a former two term member of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

Berry was sworn into office on 1 December 2009, succeeding Democrat Martin Chávez. Berry is the first Republican Mayor of Albuquerque in over 30 years.[1]

Early life, education, and business career[edit]

Richard Berry was born in Waterloo, Iowa on November 5, 1962. He was raised in Nebraska and graduated from Beatrice Senior High School in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1981. Berry moved to Albuquerque in 1982 to attend the University of New Mexico on academic and athletic scholarships (track & field, decathlon). While at the Anderson School of Management, he met his future wife, Maria Medina. Berry graduated with a degree in finance and administration.

Since graduating, he has become a successful entrepreneur in the construction industry.[1]

New Mexico House of Representatives[edit]


In 2006, Berry ran for the 20th district of the New Mexico House of Representatives after Republican State Representative Ted Hobbes decided to retire.[1] He won the June 6 Republican primary with 52% of the vote, defeating two other candidates.[2] He won the general election unopposed.[3] In 2008, he won re-election to a second term unopposed.[4]


Berry was a member of the pension solvency task-force.[5]

Committee assignments[edit]

  • Appropriations and Finance
  • Rules
  • Rural and Economic Development
  • Transportation and Public Works

Mayor of Albuquerque[edit]


In 2009, Berry decided to run for Mayor of Albuquerque. He won the election with 44% of the popular vote. He defeated two Democrats: incumbent Mayor Martin Chávez (35%) and State Senator Richard Romero (21%).[6]

Berry ran for re-election to a second term in 2013[7][8] and won re-election. Berry carried 69% of the vote, defeating Democrat Pete Dinelli and Republican Paul Heh.[9]

National Leadership[edit]

Mayor Berry serves as the Chairman of the US Conference of Mayors Metro Economies Committee,[10] as well as an elected member of the Advisory Board.[11] In addition, he served as the Chairman of the Community Leaders of America (CLA) from 2013-2015.


Since taking over as Mayor, Berry has reduced government spending by over $140 million, while keeping services to the community intact and without layoffs. Berry's administration began immediately looking at ways to repair the budget and through careful analysis was able to cut out more than $800,000 in recurring costs from his administration.[12] In addition, Mayor Berry has reduced the size of Government by over 300 positions, through attrition and vacancies. Without raising taxes, he has increased the city’s operating reserve percentage.[13]

Mayor Berry initiated an "Efficiency, Stewardship, and Accountability" program that encourages employees of the City of Albuquerque to report areas of inefficiency or waste in city resources, offering a cash incentive to employees to encourage participation.[14] As of 2015, the program has saved taxpayers over $20 million dollars, and the number continues to grow.

Other innovations included switching to one provider for insurance, creating a savings of more than $4 million. The city has maintained its "AAA" S&P bond rating.[15]


One of Mayor Berry's core focus areas is augmenting the existing educational system with smart public sector investments. One way he is doing so is through a program called Running Start for Careers,[16] a nationally-recognized apprenticeship and education program. This public-private partnership allows for high school students to enroll in a semester-long, dual-credit career exploration class held at industry sites for work-and-learn programs. The program has resulted in higher graduation rates among participants, and has served over 500 local students. Running Start for Careers was named one of the Top 25 "Innovations in Government" by the Harvard Ash Center in May 2015.[17]

Mayor Berry has also committed to appropriating $100,000 annually to fund six "Homework Diner" locations. Homework Diner is a grassroots, community-led program that provides after-school tutoring and meal assistance to families.[18] The program addresses two common barriers to educational success - hunger and lack of parental involvement. Homework Diner provides a free, nutritious meal prepared by culinary students from the Central New Mexico Community College, and educators stay after hours to provide tutoring and homework assistance to children. The idea is to bring families together around a table with a meal and get the parents more involved in helping their children succeed academically. In addition, the program provides GED courses to attending parents as part of an inter-generational approach.

In addition, Berry announced that the City of Albuquerque will provide approximately $115,000 for an International Baccalaureate Program at Sandia High School, the first program of its kind in the local public school district. The IB Diploma Program, a world-recognized college prep program for juniors and seniors based on rigorous academic standards. Qualified students from across Albuquerque will be encouraged to participate in the program, which is expected to be offered to a junior class of 100-150 students beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.[19]

Social Initiatives[edit]

In 2011, Mayor Berry launched a ground-breaking new homelessness initiative, called Albuquerque Heading Home.[20] This program address chronically homeless, medically vulnerable individuals and provides them with housing through a partnership with local service providers. A study conducted by the University of New Mexico has proven that it is 31% more cost effective to house the chronically homeless, medically vulnerable individuals through this program than to let them remain on the streets.[21]

In August 2013, Mayor Berry announced that he would convene an "Equity in Pay" Taskforce to address inequalities in salaries and wages based on gender.[22] As a result of the task force's recommendations, in May 2015 the City Council passed a bill supported by Mayor Berry that gives an incentive to companies who are bidding to work with the city that can prove that they pay women at least within 10% of what they pay men in comparable jobs.[23]

Capital Improvements[edit]

Mayor Berry's Administration was responsible for completing the $93 million dollar Paseo del Norte and I-25 interchange improvement project. This critical project is shortening commute times for over 56 million drivers per year and is estimated to bring nearly $3 billion dollars in economic opportunity to Albuquerque in the coming decades.[24]


As a leader in government transparency Mayor Berry launched ABQ-View. It allows citizens to easily access city spending data, employee salaries, vendor contracts, capital projects, audits, internal investigations, budget trending, travel expenses, and political contributions. This led to the City of Albuquerque to receive an A+ rating from the Sunshine Review for transparency in both 2011 and 2012.[25]

To encourage employees of the City of Albuquerque to cut spending and waste, Mayor Berry created the Efficiency, Stewardship and Accountability Award. This program allows employees to submit ideas about how to save the city money within their departments. If an employee’s idea results in actual savings, the employee’s department is eligible for an efficiency bonus. The citizens of Albuquerque have saved over $1.4 million much of which is on a recurring basis. A recent ESA example involved identifying annual savings on cell phones of $344,000.[26]


Under Mayor Berry's Administration for the City of Albuquerque:

  • Bloomberg Business Week’s latest ranking has Albuquerque topping major cities like Boston and Los Angeles. The ranking recognized Albuquerque’s scenic charm as well as its stable economy, recreational opportunities, and quality educational system.[27]
  • Albuquerque received high marks from Business Facilities magazine’s annual ranking of metro areas’ economic strengths. Albuquerque was the 2nd highest rated area in terms of both Economic Growth Potential and Alternative Energy Industry Leaders, 3rd for Motion Picture Industry Growth, and the 5th highest ranked metro area for Quality of Life.[28]
  • MovieMaker magazine ranks Albuquerque #1 city to Live, Work, and Make Movies in their January 2010 issue.[29]
  • Relocate America ranked Albuquerque among the Top 10 Recovery Cities – May 2010 issue.[30]
  • Forbes ranks Albuquerque among the Best Retirement Places – March 2011 issue.[31]
  • Brookings Institution ranks Albuquerque’s exports 20th in the USA – July 2010 issue.[32]
  • Brookings Institution again ranks Albuquerque #7 for Increase in Gross Metro Product – April 2010 issue.[33]
  • William F. Dixon Award for Open Government, the Foundation for Open Government, 2012.[34]
  • City of Albuquerque received an A+ rating from the Sunshine Review for transparency in both 2011 and 2012.[35]

Public Safety[edit]

By stepping up community policing efforts in conjunction with smart policing technology Albuquerque has seen its Crime Rate drop to the lowest the City has seen in 20 years. Homicide totals, robberies, burglaries, auto theft, and property crime are all down since Berry took office.[36] Mayor Richard Berry and Albuquerque Police Chief Raymond Schultz launched a new initiative Wednesday aimed to get more recruits into the police academy. Mayor Berry was quoted saying, "We are looking for the best and brightest," Mayor Berry said. "We believe these new incentives will attract some of the best law enforcement recruits in our region." The advertising campaign was labeled as, "My Mommy and Daddy Are Heroes".[37] Since his election in late 2009, Mayor Berry has successfully worked to drop the crime rate in Albuquerque to some of the lowest levels in 20 years and has brought the City to th national forefront for transparency and accountability.He has also defended APD in several unjustified shootings causing many protests in the city.[38] Mayor Berry's platform for police reform has been met with scrutiny and criticism.[39]

Albuquerque Police Department - Department of Justice Report[edit]

Despite the Albuquerque Police Department's focus on the drop in crime rates and other initiatives, a 2014 Justice Department investigation into APD's practices resulted in a report [40] citing numerous violations of individuals' constitutional rights and stating that the "department engages in a pattern or practice of using excessive force during the course of arrests and other detentions in violation of the Fourth Amendment and Section 14141." [41]

The DOJ report includes specific examples of excessive and unnecessary use of force,[42] from a random sample of 200 force reports during Mayor Berry's term between 2009-2013 and includes recommendations for revising department policies and practices [43] The report was submitted to Mayor Berry, APD Chief Gordon Eden, and Albuquerque City Attorney David Tourek on April 10, 2014.[44]

The report also notes that "Albuquerque police officers also often use less lethal force in an unconstitutional manner" and that "The use of excessive force by APD officers is not isolated or sporadic. The pattern or practice of excessive force stems from systemic deficiencies in oversight, training, and policy. Chief among these deficiencies is the department’s failure to implement an objective and rigorous internal accountability system. Force incidents are not properly investigated, documented, or addressed with corrective measures." [45]

As of May 2015, more than a year after the DOJ report, APD's website does not outline any specific policy changes in response to the report, although it does provide a link directly to the report.[46]

Recall petition[edit]

In 2014, Paul Heh, a 2013 mayoral candidate, circulated a petition to recall Berry over the handling of recent Albuquerque Police Department (APD) shootings and associated protests, saying that 11,203 registered voters' signatures were required.[47]

Personal life[edit]

Berry is an Eagle Scout, participating with his son who is also an Eagle Scout. Berry has received the Silver Beaver award by the Boy Scouts of America for his work as a registered adult leader who has made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council. The Silver Beaver is an award given to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication, and many years of service. It is given to those who do not actively seek it. He enjoys outdoor activities with his family including, hunting and fishing, snowboarding, water skiing, and other outdoor sports. Berry lettered in track in field while at the University of New Mexico. He participates in community and philanthropic events.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d City of Albuquerque. Bio: Mayor Richard J. Berry, City of Albuquerque, September 7, 2012.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ World Cab Blogspot. First Republican Candidate Jumps Into Mayoral Race, World Cab Blogspot, September 5, 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^ The United States Conference of Mayors. / 2009 Mayor Election Results, United States Conference of Mayors, September 7, 2012.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Standing Committees". US Conference of Mayors. 
  11. ^ "Advisory Board". US Conference of Mayors. 
  12. ^ Griswold, Shaun. Mayor Announces Budget Proposals, KOB, September 7, 2012.
  13. ^ Albuquerque Journal. Mayor Berry's Budget A Good Starting Point, Albuquerque Journal, September 10, 2012.
  14. ^ . City of Albuquerque  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ Albuquerque Journal Editorial Board. Albuquerque’s Fuel Wager Is a Good Bet, Albuquerque Journal, September 10, 2012.
  16. ^ "Running Start for Careers Program". City of Albuquerque. 
  17. ^ . Harvard Ash Center  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ NBC News. NBC Nightly News Retrieved June 21, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ Albuquerque Public Schools.City to Help Fund IB Program at Sandia High , APS, September 10, 2012.
  20. ^ (PDF). Albuquerque Heading Home  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ "Albuquerque Heading Home Releases Cost Study Results". Albuquerque Heading Home. 
  22. ^ "Mayor Pushes for Gender Pay Equality, City Leads by Example". City of Albuquerque. 
  23. ^ "ABQ to offer first-of-its-kind incentives on pay equity". Albuquerque Journal. 
  24. ^ "Paseo del Norte Project Information" (PDF). City of Albuquerque. 
  25. ^ NMFOG announces 2012 Transparency Award winners, National Freedom of Information Coalition, September 7, 2012.
  26. ^ Dyson, Stuart. Albuquerque IT employee saves city $344,000 a year , KOB News, September 10, 2012.
  27. ^ Brodsky, Rivkela. ABQ Makes Best Cities , Albuquerque Journal, September 10, 2012.
  28. ^ Business Facilities. Metro Rankings, Business Facilities, June 2, 2010.
  29. ^ Jacobs, Julie. 10 Best Cities To Live, Work & Make Movies in 2010, MovieMaker, June 2, 2010.
  30. ^ Memoli, Mike. 2010 Top 10 Recovery Cities, Relocate America, September 10, 2012.
  31. ^ Forbes. Best Retirement Places, Forbes, September 10, 2012.
  32. ^ Brookings Institution. West: How Intermountain West Metros Can Lead National Export Growth and Boost Competitiveness, Brookings Institution, September 10, 2012.
  33. ^ Brookings Institution. Metropolitan Product, Brookings Institution, September 10, 2012.
  35. ^ City of Albuquerque.Mayor Berry’s ABQ View is leading the nation in transparency, City of Albuquerque, September 10, 2012.
  36. ^ Albuquerque Police Department. Annual Reports, Albuquerque Police Department, September 10, 2012.
  37. ^ City of Albuquerque. "APD Launches New Recruiting Campaign and Incentives". Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  38. ^ "Mayor Richard J. Berry". The City of Albuquerque. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  39. ^ Forward, APD. "Support SWAT Transparency in New Mexico". APD Forward. APD Forward. Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  40. ^ ||accessdate=May 4, 2015
  41. ^ US DOJ 2014, p.1
  42. ^ US DOJ 2014, p.18-20
  43. ^ US DOJ 2014, p.41
  44. ^ ||accessdate=May 9, 2015
  45. ^ US DOJ 2014, p.9-10
  46. ^ ||accessdate=May 9, 2015
  47. ^ Demarco, Marisa (April 1, 2014). "Protesters Draw Up Demands for APD". KUNM. 

External links[edit]