The head of the Portland fire union is disputing Mayor Charlie Hales' claim that the city's new budget includes no firefighter layoffs.
Portland Firefighters' Association President Alan Ferschweiler says the new budget actually requires 13 fire bureau layoffs—it just delays the pink slips by three months.
Hales' budget takes effect June 30, and provides three months of "bridge funding"——short-term payroll money for senior personnel who were scheduled to retire soon. But that fund runs out on Oct. 1.
Hales' office declared this week that the new budget would require no public safety layoffs. But Ferschweiler says the mayor is just kicking the canning down the road, and that Fire Chief Erin Janssens has already prepared paperwork for October layoffs.
"So I don't know what the difference is," Ferschweiler says.
Hales' spokesman Dana Haynes says the mayor's budget preserves all current firefighter jobs through June 30, and that it's too early to know how many firefighters will be laid off in October.
"The numbers fluctuate," says Haynes. "There is a scenario where the stars align and those layoffs happen. There are also many scenarios where that number differs."