An item on Wednesday's city council "consent agenda," the part of the agenda that rarely sees any discussion before a vote, is asking the Portland City Council to approve up to $300,000 more for the national law firm hired last year to defend Police Chief Mike Reese's move to fire of Frashour and suspend of three other involved officers.
The grand total paid to that law firm, not-too-cheap Littler Mendelson, could now hit $750,000, according to the contract proposal submitted to the council.
I'm casting about, at this late hour on a Friday, for answers to a few questions—as in, at what point does this become the most expensive arbitration issue in the city's history?
Also, is this money going to help the city challenge the arbitrator's ruling on Frashour? Or is it going only to help defend the 80-hour suspensions handed out to Officer Ryan Lewton and Sergeants Liani Reyna and John Birkinbine. The Portland Police Association is challenging those, too, and it's unclear where those arbitration cases stand. Update 4:35 PM: I've just been told the money applies to all four arbitration cases—and potentially for any work involved in challenging those rulings.
The city hired Littler Mendelson because the city was simultaneously (and sort of awkwardly) paying its own lawyers to argue that the city ought not be held liable for the Campbell shooting. The city wound up settling that federal suit for $1.2 million. The O has been reporting that the city has spent $434,514, as of early February, to defend itself in the arbitration.
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