June 18th, 2010 | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall, Cops and Courts, CLEAN UP

Police Union Shredded No-Confidence Ballots on Sizer and Saltzman (UPDATED With Election Results)

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The Portland Police Association announced today it has two candidates heading for a runoff to be president of the 900-member union.

Officer Daryl Turner got 44 percent of the 671 votes cast. Sgt. Doug Justus got 39 percent. A third candidate, Officer John Grable, did not make the runoff. Ballots in the runoff election will be counted July 21.

Whichever candidate wins the election, there's one issue he won't have to decide. That's what to do with the ballots from last year's no-confidence vote against then-Chief Rosie Sizer and then-Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

The reason: Union leaders shredded the ballots — under the watchful eye of Saltzman's staff — a few weeks after the no-confidence vote last November, according to Officer Dave Dobler, the union's secretary-treasurer and acting president.

"While I know what the results were, I am never going to share that with anybody," Dobler says.

Last fall, hundreds of union members and their supporters marched on City Hall and held the no-confidence vote after Saltzman stripped Officer Christopher Humphreys of his badge. Humphreys was under investigation for shooting a 12-year-old girl with a beanbag gun.

Union leaders were scheduled to release the results of the no-confidence vote Nov. 30. But they agreed to withhold the results in exchange for Sizer and Saltzman backing down and re-instating Humphreys to desk duty.

Since then most of the key players in the drama have moved on. First, Sgt. Scott Westerman was forced out as union president after admitting to two road-rage incidents. Then Mayor Sam Adams last month fired Sizer as chief and took over control of the Police Bureau from Saltzman.

Still, union leaders remain under pressure from some officers to release the results of the no-confidence vote. The only people presumed to know the results are Dobler and Westerman. Both say they won't ever tell.

Some had hoped the incoming new union president might be persuaded to release the results. But Dobler confirms the ballots were shredded in the union office a few weeks after the election, with Saltzman staffer Shannon Callahan watching.

Dobler says some members have been disappointed to learn the ballots were destroyed.

"For people frustrated about it, I get that, I understand that," says Dobler, who will remain as secretary-treasurer after the election. "But for the handful of people I've had come to me (and complain the ballots were destroyed), I've had other people saying 'I'm glad you did it.' "
 
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