This week's WW cover story on new Portland Mayor Charlie Hales takes a closer look at how most of the real deal-making in City Hall takes place in an improvised dance of one-on-one office meetings between commissioners and their staff.

Those handshake deals have led to predictable results this winter: A wave of vicious head colds—coughing, followed by fever—has laid low dozens of City Hall staffers over the past two weeks.

Elected officials aren't immune: Hales had a deep, hacking cough he was treating with hot tea during an interview with WW last week.

And today, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman informed the city clerk that he will not attend Thursday afternoon's vote hearing on a city policy making sick leave mandatory.

His excuse? He's sick.

Saltzman will discuss the policy by phone.

He attended this morning's council meeting before submitting his own planned sick leave to the clerk at noon.

CORRECTION: The Jan. 31 Council meeting on sick leave is a public hearing, not the final vote.