The Portland Police Association announced on its website today that all future contract negotiations with the city will be opened to the public—a move that was long sought by community members troubled by a compromise that originally called for half the meetings to be held behind closed doors.
In August 2010, the negotiating teams representing the Portland Police Association and the City of Portland agreed to a set of guidelines regarding public sessions for their contract negotiations.
After the first public session, it became clear to the PPA’s negotiating team that this is a positive change. Holding negotiating sessions in a public forum allows for transparency, and opens lines of communication in ways important to our association and the citizens we protect.
From this point forward, contract negotiations between the PPA and the City of Portland will be held publicly as long as the agreed upon guidelines are adhered to. The PPA does have the right to revert to closed door negotiations every other session if the guidelines are violated.
Talks had stalled for months over the openness question before resuming Friday, September 17. After that first meeting, union president Daryl Turner had told cop watchers and reporters that he wouldn't rule out opening the talks but would wait to decide.
Still, public is a relative term. Laptops and cell phones are not allowed during the meetings—meaning no live-blogging or taking to the Twitter. And audio and video recording also will remain banned. What's more, anyone who violates those rules will be booted not only from the meeting they're caught at, but also from all future meetings.