Bernalillo County employee retiring after allegations of nepotism

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –  You might remember the Torres family. The City of Albuquerque paid them $6 million after Albuquerque police officer shot and killed their mentally ill son, Christopher Torres. Now the mother, Renetta Torres, who is a Bernalillo County employee, is accused of using her position to benefit her family members.

According to investigators, Renetta got her other son and his wife jobs with the county and continued to protect them despite their lack of attendance and work.

“Justice, thank God, prevailed,” said Renetta Torres.

This was the reaction of a relieved mother in 2014 when a judge awarded the Torres family $6 million in the wrongful death lawsuit of her son, who was shot by Albuquerque police officers. Now Renetta Torres is the one accused of wrongdoing. She has worked as the Director of Human Resources for Bernalillo County since 2001.

Fellow employees claim for many of those years, Renetta Torres has violated the county’s nepotism policy by showing “favoritism” and “special treatment” to her son, Daniel Torres, and her daughter-in-law, Nicol Moreland.

An 80-page investigative report details how Daniel Torres and Moreland had stretches of time in 2015 when their computers went completely unused. There are at least 111 of those days documented.

Other office mates said at one point, Moreland “did not show up to work for 3-4 months.” And they estimate she only worked about 50 percent of the time she was paid for. Daniel Torres worked only about “25 percent” which was a “running joke” among co-workers.

Several said they felt Daniel Torres was “lying on his time cards.” When one employee said she was not comfortable signing off on them, she was told she had to. Employees said they were afraid to speak up out of “fear of retaliation” and the “wrath of Renetta.”

Other staff said when they would bring up concerns about Daniel Torres in staff meetings, Tom Swisstack, who was the Deputy County Manager at the time, would say, “That’s Renetta’s boy. She is just doing what mothers do to protect their sons.”

At the end of January, Renetta Torres did agree to resign, but it is not effective until May. That means she will continue to be paid her annual six figure salary, but is not allowed in her office without manager approval.

Her son, Daniel Torres, resigned last May shortly before the investigation was launched. His wife is still employed, she makes $40 an hour.

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