Commissioner Dan Saltzman filed a resolution today regarding the hiring of new police officers and firefighters with the passing of Measure 26-86. It will be considered by the Portland City Council next Tuesday.
(See "Last One On The Ladder," in Wednesday's print edition of WW, at www.wweek.com/editorial/3302/8241/.)
Saltzman pointed out that he would be willing to withdraw this resolution if he could be assured there would be no midnight swear-ins of police or fire officers before their generous current benefit packages change on January 1. “Obviously the key would is assurance,” he said, “I'd be more than happy to withdraw if it's moot.”
There has been some conflict over whether or not the Portland Fire Bureau will hire more employees before New Year's Day, when the changes to the Fire & Police Disability & Retirement fund go into effect. The reform was approved overwhelmingly by Portland voters, so placing new employees on the old system (with its more favorable benefits) by hiring them before the first of the year is a questionable move.
Saltzman's proposed resolution directs that the Portland Police and Fire Chiefs not swear in any new officers before new year, pointing out that not adhering to this would “increase the city's unfunded pension liability for 25 years, and therefore would not be protective of the city's financial future.”