Mayor's travel spending way down

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) — One of the mayor's main jobs is to sell Albuquerque to businesses outside the state, even outside the country. When you compare Mayor R.J. Berry and former Mayor Martin Chavez they are far apart on strategy and spending when it comes to traveling on the job.

City's records show Chavez spent 71 thousand dollars over his last four years as mayor; hitting up hot spots like Australia, Beijing, Israel and Mexico.

Mayor Berry has taken a different approach, “If I feel like it's really meaningful to the constituents for me to go on their dime, I’m happy to do that. I’ve done some traveling, I’ve been to Israel to China to Mexico, and the only one of those three tips that I asked for taxpayer support in was the trip to Mexico.”

Since he took office in 2010, Berry has spent just over 7 thousand dollars on taxpayer funded trips.

“If I am not sure that I could look at someone at the hardware store or the grocery store and say boy you made a good decision last week to send me to A, B, or C, sometimes I will spend my own money,” said Berry.

But, Berry says that doesn't mean he isn't selling the city every chance he gets. In fact, Berry says he's been lucky to be invited to discussions and conferences paid for by other cities or organizations.

He says some of those events have allowed him to make connections that have paid off, “I’m having dinner, I meet a guy name Dave. I said, ‘Hey, Dave what do you do?’ He says, ‘I run an airline.” He says, ‘What do you do? And I said, ‘I am the Mayor of Albuquerque.’ turns out that's Dave Barger from JetBlue.”

JetBlue will start service to Albuquerque in April.

Berry says it's not just his travels, he's instructed everyone in the city to cut back.

“I will have cut 160 million dollars out of city spending since I have been the mayor,” said Berry.

The mayor says he's focused on marketing Albuquerque to Mexico and hoping to work more trade deals with our next door neighbor.

News 13 spoke to Pete Dinelli Wednesday night. He’s the only other announced candidate in the mayor's race so far. Dinelli says it's part of the mayor's job to travel and that he most likely would take more trips than Berry to push for jobs. Dinelli says he would not travel with a large entourage, so the cost would be lower for his trips.

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New Mexico (change)

 
New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.
 
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