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Proposed full-time positions axed from citys budget

The city of Beaverton's Budget Committee removed two new full-time positions from consideration in the proposed 2011-12 budget, but the City Council may reconsider the positions later this year.

The volunteer and diversity outreach coordinator and community involvement communications specialist positions, both proposed by Mayor Dennis Doyle, were removed from the budget. The committee approved an amended version of the $174 million budget at its third and final public meeting on June 2.

The City Council will consider the final budget at its meeting on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall, 4755 S.W. Griffith Drive.

The volunteer and diversity outreach coordinator position was envisioned to coordinate and assist various citizen volunteer programs, according to city budget documents, 'and to improve our outreach to various ethnic communities with regards to the city's functions, activities, programs and events.'

The proposed annual salary for the position was $52,734 plus $39,829 in 'fringe benefits' related to health insurance coverage and other employee-related expenses.

The community involvement communications specialist was designed to assist Public Information Manager Bill LaMarche with additional public relations activities, including social media communications.

The proposed salary for the position was $52,734 plus $39,829 in additional employee benefits and expenses.

Citing ongoing concerns with the economy and its affect on property tax revenues, committee members decided they wanted additional information before fully considering the positions. A work session is scheduled for late September to further discuss the needs and goals the positions might fulfill, LaMarche said.

'I think they had more in-depth questions that were going to take a bit of time to answer thoughtfully,' he said of the committee's decision to pull the positions from the budget.

City Councilor Marc San Soucie said he believes both positions could be beneficial to the city, but the budget discussions didn't go in a direction that satisfied enough committee members' questions and concerns.

'I understand the purpose' of the proposed positions, he said. 'Either one of them provides useful services. Certainly, neither one of them is critical.

'I could have supported those two positions, if there had been a slightly different tenor of discussion.'

Doyle said the two proposed positions would facilitate the city's efforts to be 'more inclusive,' represent the population's 'growing diversity' and increase the city's ability to communicate to audiences who are using cutting-edge communications channels.

The city's Asian population is 28 percent, while the African-American demographic has grown by nearly 80 percent, according to recent census figures, LaMarche noted.

Exceeding the city's general growth of 18 percent, the Hispanic or Latino population, at 79 percent growth, has become one of the city's fastest-growing demographic groups, he added.

LaMarche said the mayor anticipates that councilors and committee members discuss the positions again this fall.

'The mayor was very appreciative that they were willing to take the time to learn more about how the two positions are interwoven,' LaMarche said.

Noting she would like to see 'more fiscal constraint' in the city budget under prevailing economic conditions, City Councilor Betty Bode agreed that the positions could wait for further explanation and a stronger economy.

'I didn't think the time was right,' she said. 'There was no job description, and it didn't demonstrate a need.'