March 21, 2013 | Portland Tribune-- Portland police and fire bureaus may shoulder more of the budget-cutting load this year, as the City Council grapples with a $25 million budget shortfall.
Interviews with city commissioners revealed an emerging consensus that public safety agencies won’t enjoy the same protection from the budget ax they had under former Mayor Sam Adams.
Public safety bureaus were “held somewhat harmless” in recent years, said city Commissioner Nick Fish, when they were cut at half the percentage rate of other general fund agencies. “We cannot use the old formula any more,” said Fish, former commissioner for two of those agencies, parks and housing.
“I understand what Nick is saying, and I’m not averse to that,” said city Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
City Commissioner Steve Novick is digging deep into the police budget, questioning longstanding policing practices in a quest to help balance the 2013-14 budget.
“I’m looking into the Police Bureau because, as Willie Sutton said, that’s where the money is,” Novick said.
Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Saltzman, when asked to list their top priorities to shrink the budget shortfall, both cited cutting police and fire overtime spending.
“That’s going to be my first question: Why is overtime so high?” Fritz said.
In the police, fire and other bureaus, Saltzman said, overtime is such a “cultural norm” that workers have READ FULL ARTICLE