Why would crime center manager apply for his own job? | KOB 4
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Why would crime center manager apply for his own job?

Caleb James
September 06, 2017 10:24 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Why would you apply for a job you already have?

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At first glance, it seems pointless. It's not so pointless, though, if the new version of your job comes with better job security.

KOB has learned that scenario may be in play for the manager of Albuquerque's Real Time Crime Center. T.J. Wilham was appointed to the job by Mayor Richard Berry. But if he gets rehired for his same job now, he may be better protected from losing it when a new mayor takes over. 

Under the appointed position's current status, Wilham can be terminated at the pleasure of whoever's in the mayor's office. So KOB asked why it appears he's suddenly being hired into the exact same position and receiving high-level law enforcement training meant for sworn law enforcement. 

Wilham -- a former Albuquerque Journal reporter turned mayor's office spokesman -- has by most accounts run the RTCC program well. He's received accolades and awards, according to the mayor's office. 

“The Real Time Crime Center opened in March 2013 and has been recognized as a best practice in law enforcement, having T.J. Wilham as its only manager," said Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry. "He has managed its 40-plus employees handling more than 100,000 high-risk calls for service over the last four years."

Perry said the RTCC received the International Association of Law Enforcement Planners Phil E. Keith Project of the Year Award of Merit after a year of the program's management. 

Right now, as an appointee, whoever's in the mayor's office could fire Wilham without cause. But in June, his job was suddenly posted internally. The only difference? It's now a "classified" position -- a much more protected role. The description matches Wilham's current job exactly.  

"Plan, direct, manage and oversee the activities and operations of the Albuquerque Police Department's Real Time Crime Center, " the posting states. 

Even the job's experience requirements recommend specific experience: "to include four (4) years direct supervisory experience in a management and/or administrative capacity. Experience working in a public safety environment preferred."

The experience requirements mirror the exact time Wilham has served in his current role. 

On Wednesday, Berry's Communications Director Rhiannon Samuel told KOB four people had applied for the internal posting. Samuel indicated by e-mail that Wilham has already been selected for the job by a panel of three "nonpolitical" committee members. Perry affirmed the choice in a statement forwarded to KOB by Samuel. 

Later in the evening on Wednesday, Samuel walked that back, saying Wilham is merely being "recommended" for the position but has not yet been hired. 

In August, Wilham was selected to attend the exclusive Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command -- billed as an "intensive 10-week program that prepares law enforcement managers for senior positions." According to the class description included on an internal memo seeking department applicants, it is open to "those at the rank of lieutenant and above." 

Wilham is a civilian, yet multiple sources inside the police department tell KOB several lieutenants who applied for the intensive program were denied while Wilham was enrolled.  

Why all the effort to reclassify Wilham's position only to rehire him? The city on Wednesday says many managerial roles at the city are so-called "classified" jobs, and the decision was made to make the Real Time Crime Center job a competitively hired one, instead of an appointed one.  According to Perry, Wilham was simply the most qualified applicant out of the four.  

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Caleb James

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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