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May 28th, 2013 WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs
 

Murmurs: When the Going Gets Tough, Seek a Promotion.

murmurs_3930STATON - IMAGE: Leslie Montgomery
     
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  • Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton is mulling the idea of turning in his badge for a run at a seat on the county commission. Staton, sheriff since 2010, confirmed to WW that he has met with Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel—whose East County district includes Staton’s Gresham home—about running for her seat. McKeel would be forced by term limits to leave her seat after 2016. “I talked with Commissioner McKeel about it,” Staton says. “But my first priority is being the sheriff.” Staton also tells WW he plans to run for re-election for sheriff next year, and notes the race for McKeel’s seat is still some time away. Rumors about the sheriff’s widening political ambitions have heated up as Staton faces increasing criticism from the county board of commissioners about out-of-control overtime spending in the sheriff’s department (“Overtime Busts,” WW, Jan. 9, 2013). Last year, 44 law enforcement and corrections deputies used overtime to increase their salaries by at least 50 percent—and 13 made more than the sheriff himself. The commissioner’s job would be a pay cut for Staton, who earns $142,145 a year; commissioners earn $93,631.
  • The director of the Multnomah County Health Department, Lillian Shirley, remains on leave after being arrested May 20 for biting her husband on his leg and back. Shirley’s husband, Tom Davidson, declined to press charges, but Shirley remains at home. In a statement last week, Shirley told co-workers, “I sincerely apologize for any impact my personal life has had on the department and on the county.” County spokesman David Austin says Shirley has received an outpouring of support from colleagues and is expected to return to her $167,000-a-year post soon.
  • Mayor Charlie Hales’ budget is done. Now the political infighting can start—beginning with a rekindling of what has often been a difficult relationship between Hales and city unions. In a May 14 letter to Hales’ City Council colleagues, six city unions attacked Hales’ surprise proposal to decertify the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association. Hales has argued that police commanders in management jobs shouldn’t also be in a union. Leaders of the unions—including for police officers, firefighters and professional employees—want Hales to air the issue in public. “We do not allow for union-busting,” the labor leaders wrote the other City Council members. “This is an issue that demands, at a minimum, a full debate at the council level.” Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says that’s not happening. The mayor is leaving the decision to decertify the union with the state Employment Relations Board. “He does not anticipate council hearings in either case,” Haynes says.
 
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