THE MULTNOMAH COUNTY Sheriff's Office—long criticized for its extensive, exorbitant uses of overtime—unveiled a new argument about the practice recently: It's actually saving money.
Sheriff Dan Staton made that case to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on October 31, in a pitch for $784,000 in overtime cash for the next three months.
Staton told commissioners that overtime pay winds up being slightly cheaper than hiring more deputies and corrections staff, since it saves money on benefits and training.
For some perspective: From July 1 to October 1 the department's top 10 workers worked more than 3,000 overtime hours—about $194,560 worth of work. Overtime pay for the whole department during the same period: $2.3 million. DIRK VANDERHART
COMMISSIONER NICK FISH says he's bullish about the fate of proposed police oversight reforms that had first been tabled by Mayor Charlie Hales after a long hearing last month and then pulled back by City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade amid a heap of criticism for Hales and the council.
Fish tells the Mercury he thinks most of what was proposed—aside from disputes over whether civilian investigators with the Independent Police Review should compel testimony from cops—will head for a vote by next month.
"After conversations with the mayor's office, the auditor, and with my colleagues, I'm confident there's a path forward," says Fish.
Fish said it's still not clear whether the proposed reforms will need to be negotiated with the city's two police unions. He also took pains to say he would have voted for most of the package back on October 23—except that he was taking cues from Hales, who took his cues, in turn, from a decidedly opposed Police Chief Mike Reese.
Multiple sources say Fish has taken on the role of mediator in the impasse, but Fish declined to comment when asked directly. DENIS C. THERIAULT