Budget to be revised after City Hall finger-pointing

Budget to be revised after City Hall finger-pointing »Play Video
From left to right: Mayor Sam Adams, Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Police Chief Rosie Sizer.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Either someone messed up or there was a big miscommunication between the mayor and the police chief.

Either way Mayor Sam Adams is rewriting his budget because he and Portland Police Chief Rosie Sizer were not on the same page this week when it came to budget cuts.

During a news conference on Monday, Sizer expressed her frustration over layoffs. She said the city’s 25 newest officers might get the ax as well as cuts to programs like the cold-case squad.

When Sizer called the morning news conference to decry cuts to her bureau under the mayor’s proposed budget it was done with the blessing of her boss Police Commissioner Dan Saltzman.

“To have a disproportionate or out of balance impact on the bureau at a time when the council has been saying, ‘get to full strength’, and then we get there, and now all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘never mind,’” Saltzman said.
But the mayor said Sizer gave him faulty information.

Adams said he was surprised because his office understood that instead of layoffs, the police bureau would cut positions that were vacant.

He said that information was incorrect: those positions weren’t vacant, and Sizer failed to tell him that.

“If I had known they had lingering concerns, or concerns, I would have been responsive. At least I would have been aware of them, and I would have had the opportunity to be responsive,” Adams said.

He said he didn’t watch Sizer’s news conference but when he found out later in the day what she said - and the potential for layoffs - his office issued a terse press release that

said the information “provided by the police bureau has proven to be faulty.”

“If I have questions for a bureau manager, I ask them,” Adams said. “I don’t just hold a news conference and blast them, and that’s the troubling part.”

“I think it’s regrettable that the mayor is using those strong words,” said Saltzman. “We have worked hard with the mayor’s office over the last few weeks. Me, the chief, and the

rest of the bureau to give them the numbers they want.”

When asked where the disconnect was, Saltzman said, “You’d have to ask the mayor on that one.”

Saltzman did say he didn’t believe Sizer gave the mayor false information.

A request was made to speak with Sizer on Tuesday but her spokesperson said Sizer would let the comments she made on Monday stand.

How could such a miscommunication happen?

One factor: This was a second, unanticipated late round of cuts the mayor’s office asked for when the economy continued to go south.

Still, both sides agreed they spent a lot of time hashing over the numbers.

After the mayor reworks the budget, the City Council will debate and vote on it later this month.