November 27th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Cops and Courts

Police Union Boss Pushes Back on Two Theories about the No-Confidence Vote


Amid all the political speculation on the Portland Police Associations's current no-confidence vote against Chief Rosie Sizer and Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman, two recurring theories have endured.

Both were swatted down today by union president Sgt. Scott Westerman in an interview with WW.

The first theory making the rounds has it that the union's no-confidence vote against Sizer and Saltzman for placing Officer Chris Humphreys on administrative leave is, in part, meant to benefit the cops when contract negotiations between the union and the city begin next year. Some observers believe weakening Saltzman could create leverage for the union.

Others have noted that pissing off City Hall as a tactic could backfire.

And Westerman today swatted down any such speculation about the vote a couple of days before the union is scheduled to announce the results. "People say this is for leverage, but that is not the case," he said.

"This is about public safety. This is about our members looking at the chief and the police commissioner and saying, we followed our training, what do you expect us to do now?"

Westerman also noted, as some observers believe, that "this will actually hurt our ability for contract negotiations."

The second bit of speculation involves City Commissioner Randy Leonard. It's been reported that the union is working closely with Gallatin Public Affairs. Political insiders also know that Leonard has close ties with Gallatin lobbyist Greg Peden.

Could it be that Leonard, a former firefighter union boss who has nursed his own designs to become police commissioner, is somehow playing puppet-master at the union through his friend Peden?

Westerman scoffs at the notion, saying the union is working not only with Peden but the entire Gallatin team in Portland, with Shannon McCarthy Berg as the union's main contact at the firm.

"I can assure you there has been no collusion between the Portland Police Association and any city commissioner to conspire toward anything," Westerman says. "I think Randy's quotes recently exemplify that."
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