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Friday, May 1, 2009

Who Got Cut From the City?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, May 1, 2009 at 5:02 PM

Mayor Adams' budget is an impressive political balancing act. It cuts $8 million, it cuts 159 jobs, it squeezes in $2.5 million for soccer and somehow no one is pissed off. At the press conference this morning, Commissioners Fritz, Leonard and Fish all praised the budget for placing public safety and housing as top priorities and it looks like while every commissioner took cuts in their bureaus, the budget negotiations all left them with something they wanted.

So what 159 jobs are we losing, exactly? Well, at least 60 of the jobs are vacant positions that the city just isn't going to hire new people for. When the economy started getting grim, a couple bureaus slowed down their hirings knowing they'd be asked to cut jobs in the future.

The mayor's budget is a dense 24 page spreadsheet, but as far as I can tell in my perusal today, the most notable cuts are from the Bureau of Transportation, which is cutting 61 positions. Some of those people can hopefully be transferred to other places in the city, but the way to budget reads now we'll lose 10 street cleaners, four sidewalk inspectors, six people who run the abandoned auto program (which hauls eyesore cars left in the streets), five street pavement repairers and a handful of other city infrastructure-maintenance people.

From the Police Bureau, Portland is losing a canine officer (did you know one canine officer costs the city $98,535 a year? Now you do.), a crime analyist, a criminalist and an officer on arson detail. That plus the 24 people transferred or laid off in the closing of two police precincts. Fire and rescue is also losing five positions. BUT Commissioner Leonard's negotiating kept one fire station from closing and secured one-time funding for two rescue units that were slated to be axed.

More breakdown on which departments are slated to lose jobs - and which aren't - below the jump.

Parks & Recreation - 9.25 jobs cut overall, including three planning staff, two senior recreation programmers and three maintenance people.

Bureau of Development Services - 55 jobs cut overall, 36 currently vacant positions and 18.50 jobs "with live bodies in them," says Paul Scarlett, the director of BDS. The slated cuts are from a wide range of services - four of those people are inspectors, three are support staff, three are senior planners, two are plan reviewers etc. Scarlett says he hopes to place most if not all of the 18.5 people in other bureaus or in jobs of people who retire.

Bureau of Planning and Sustainability - Nine jobs gained overall, but six current positions are getting cut or transferred. The most notable of those is environmentalists can rejoice that the city is able to cut the guy overseeing Measure 37 claims.

The Mayor's office is absorbing some staff from the Bureau of Transportation and Planning, so it's adding five jobs overall.

No one is losing their job in the office of the city attorney, government relations, human relations or the housing bureau.

That's enough working through the budget for me for one sunny Friday afternoon - post questions if you have any and I'll try to track down the answers.

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