Sixteen months after accepting the job Mayor Sam Adams
originally didn't want, Commissioner Dan Saltzman
responded this afternoon to the mayor's abrupt decision
to strip Saltzman of his job as police commissioner and to fire Chief Rosie Sizer
. Saltzman called Adams' decision an example of the mayor's vengeful and headline-driven style of governance.
"I've experienced vindictiveness by the mayor," Saltzman said of his years on City Council. "I would characterize this as one of those circumstances."
(The photo above is of when Adams announced the appointment of Saltzman to manage the Police Bureau, with Sizer looking on.)
Saltzman is less than one week away from the May 18 primary, so he also this afternoon questioned the mayor's timing of his announcement. Saltzman says he learned of the mayor's decision about 15 minutes before Adams held a noon press conference to announce the shake-up. Saltzman says the mayor's move comes as a result of his speaking up about the police budget.
"The mayor was not sufficiently committed to the safety of Portlanders by keeping the bureau at full strength," said Saltzman. "He didn't expect us to speak up about it."
He said the mayor's statement that the decision to can him and Sizer now was driven by the need to complete the budget process was "disingenuous" and "ridiculous." He also suggested the mayor's decision was the result of Sizer's Monday press conference, which Saltzman supported, regarding the mayor's proposed cuts to the Police Bureau budget. "The beginning of the legislative process [around the budget] was the end of my tenure as police chief," Saltzman said.
As of 4 pm today, Saltzman hadn't had a chance to talk with Police Chief Rosie Sizer, who has been replaced by former East Precinct Commander Mike Reese.
Saltzman wasn't among the mayor's detractors in January 2009 when Adams was at his lowest ebb after news broke of Adams' sexual relationship with Beau Breedlove. He said he doesn't regret having taken the job of police commissioner, although his supporters often told him the mayor was "doing this to me to help himself."
He said his office informed Adams of yesterday's press conference
on the city's settlement with the family of James Chasse. Although the mayor didn't attend the conference, Saltzman said he didn't think that played a role in the mayor's decision today.
Finally he said this afternoon he plans to continue working with Adams. "That's not going to stop," he said.