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 McKeelâwhose East County district includes Statonâs Gresham homeâabout running for her seat. McKeel would be forced by term limits to leave her seat after 2016. âI talked with Commissioner McKeel about it,â Staton says. âBut my first priority is being the sheriff.â Staton also tells WW he plans to run for re-election for sheriff next year, and notes the race for McKeelâs seat is still some time away. Rumors about the sheriffâs 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 sheriffâs department (âOvertime Busts,â WW, Jan. 9, 2013). Last year, 44 law enforcement and corrections deputies used overtime to increase their salaries by at least 50 percentâand 13 made more than the sheriff himself. The commissionerâs 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. Shirleyâs husband, Tom Davidson, declined to press charges, but Shirley remains at home. In a statement last week, Shirley told co-workers, âI sincerely apologize for any impact my personal life has had on the department and on the county.â 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 Halesâ budget is done. Now the political infighting can startâbeginning with a rekindling of what has often been a difficult relationship between Hales and city unions. In a May 14 letter to Halesâ City Council colleagues, six city unions attacked Halesâ surprise proposal to decertify the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association. Hales has argued that police commanders in management jobs shouldnât also be in a union. Leaders of the unionsâincluding for police officers, firefighters and professional employeesâwant Hales to air the issue in public. âWe do not allow for union-busting,â the labor leaders wrote the other City Council members. âThis is an issue that demands, at a minimum, a full debate at the council level.â Hales spokesman Dana Haynes says thatâs not happening. The mayor is leaving the decision to decertify the union with the state Employment Relations Board. âHe does not anticipate council hearings in either case,â Haynes says.