ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It looks like the City of Albuquerque is stuck with a Mayor Richard Berry hold-over who oversaw the Albuquerque Rapid Transit fiasco and makes roughly $95,000 each year.
“There’s obviously some individuals involved in the project who are still here,” Mayor Tim Keller said in a news conference last Tuesday.
“But we got all this information as fast as we could when we came in the door and we can’t speak to what happened before that,” he said.
Dayna Crawford, ABQ Ride’s Deputy Director, was front and center of the project, but now it seems the city doesn’t want her to have anything to do with it.
Crawford was initially tasked with heading the team to bring former Mayor Berry’s Albuquerque Rapid Transit project to the metro.
Last week, Mayor Keller and his team held a new conference to outline the long list of problems with ART. At the conference, he also announced that everyone involved in the project under Mayor Berry’s administration had been replaced.
“We do have some new team members in place, so I want to mention, going forward, there will be a new PIO,” he said.
That includes Crawford. The city said she only “provides information” regarding the project upon request.
Initially, her position as Deputy Director of Transit was “unprotected” meaning the next mayor could appoint someone else; but last year the city changed it to a “protected” role.
Mayor Berry’s administration told KRQE News 13 she would undergo a six-month probationary period that started July 1, 2017. According to that timeline, Mayor Keller would have had a small window in which he could move to let Crawford go, but with cause.
However, paperwork shows Crawford’s probation period began May 27, 2017 and it ended Nov. 25, 2017 — almost a month before Mayor Keller took office.
So KRQE News 13 asked the mayor’s office if Crawford or anyone else on the ART team made Keller aware of the issues surrounding ART. His office said “no issues were disclosed during the transition meetings before taking office.”
KRQE News 13 also spoke with Crawford who said although she was the face of the project, she was never involved in any of the meetings with Mayor Keller’s team to discuss ART before he took office.
The city said it plans to reassign Crawford to a new position, but didn’t say where.