High overtime spending in the Multnomah County Sheriffâs Office will be part of an upcoming county audit. As WW reported, deputies use overtime to add tens of thousands of dollars to their pay (âOvertime Busts,â WW, Jan. 9, 2013). Daniel Carrithers, a corrections sergeant, nearly doubled his salary with overtime, making him, at $182,008, the countyâs highest-paid employee. âWeâll be looking for outliers in statistical terms, and weâll ask management why that occurred,â Multnomah County Auditor Steve March tells WW. Some situations may be appropriate, March says. âIn other cases,â he adds, âitâs someone gaming the system.â
The two newest members of the Metro Council are concerned about gun shows held at the Expo Center. Metro reporter Nick Christensen broke the news that Councilor Bob Stacey is raising questions about the regional governmentâs contract with Collectors West, which hosts gun shows six times a year at the Expo Center, which Metro operates. Stacey tells WW that Councilor Sam Chase is also asking âwhy are we doing that in light of whatâs happening in the culture and the country.â Metro Council President Tom Hughes says canceling the contract wonât stop gun shows and that the Expo Center can do a better job of hosting the shows than other local venues. WW visited the December show and documented how sales of AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles skyrocketed in the wake of mass shootings in Oregon and Connecticut (âGunfire Sale,â WW, Dec. 19, 2012).
Schools activist Lainie Block Wilker (âVoices,â WW, Jan. 2, 2013) is actively recruiting a slate of School Board candidates to reform Portland Public Schools in the May 21 election. Three board seatsâcurrently held by Martin Gonzales, Pam Knowles and Trudy Sargentâare up for grabs. Wilker, a persistent critic of PPS, says she doesnât have time to run herself but is urging others to streamline the district, beef up course offerings and âreplace Superintendent Carole Smith and her executive team.â The current board praised Smith in an October review and extended her contract for three years. The filing window for candidates in the May election opens Feb. 9.
Portland Fire & Rescue is pursuing a $120,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to keep funding its educational campaign against illegal fireworks. Last summer, Portland and four other fire departments spent $70,000 on a media blitz warning Oregonians not to set off illegal bottle rockets and mortars available (and legal) in Washington (âFahrenheit 4th of July,â WW, June 27, 2012) for 2014. A coalition of agencies ranging from police departments to animal shelters has pledged to match 25 percent of the grant.