May 29th, 2013 | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: City Hall, Cops and Courts

No Police or Fire Layoffs in City Budget

news1_3920ILLUSTRATION: WW Staff

The next time you hear Portland's public safety bureaus howl about taking the brunt of what have been painted as draconian city budget cuts, remember this number: Zero.

That's how many layoffs the city's police and fire bureaus will have to make in the budget approved by City Council this morning.

Mayor Charlie Hales had warned for months that the public safety bureaus would need to take their share of personnel cuts to fill a $21.5 million budget hole. Police and fire officials threatened they would have close stations and eliminate entire divisions. As recently as May 8, the fire bureau said all 41.8 full-time employee positions targeted in Hales' initial budget were filled jobs.

But as the Portland Tribune first reported on Tuesday, the city currently expects to lay off 26 people—none in the public safety bureaus.

Hales tells WW he's delighted.

"We started with a reduction of 182 FTE and, as of today, it looks like we're down to about 26 actual layoffs? That's great," Hales says. "This is leaner, not meaner. I'd like that to be down to zero, and we've still got six weeks to go, so let's see."

Hales' spokesman Dana Haynes says the estimate of no layoffs in public safety bureaus is a result of "bridge funding"—short-term payroll funding for senior personnel who were scheduled to retire soon. He also says many cops and firefighters took the city's retirement incentives.

"The incentive for early retirement proposal seems to have worked, but I don't have numbers for how many people having taking the city up on that," Haynes says. "Still, for everyone who retires a year early, tick off one fewer lay-offs."

 
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