As promised during his successful campaign, Mayor Charlie Hales will assign all city bureaus to himself on Feb. 4, according to his spokesman, Dana Haynes.

Hales will keep the bureaus during the early stages of preparing his first proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1.

According to Haynes, after Hales takes control of all city bureaus, the mayor and the rest of the City Council will meet as a “board of directors” to begin the budget-setting process. “Once that process seems to be moving along, the bureaus then would be redistributed to the other members of the City Council,” Haynes says.

Assigning and reassigning bureaus is one of the few unique powers granted to the mayor under the City Charter. During last year’s campaigns, Hales said he wanted to eliminate the “silo mentality” that has led to territorial thinking and pet projects in the past.

Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman may get some of their previous bureaus back. But those bureaus that had been under former Mayor Sam Adams and former Commissioner Randy Leonard will be reassigned. Adams had the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Development Commission, the Bureau of Transportation and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, among others. Leonard’s assignments included the Water Bureau, the Bureau of Development Services, and Portland Fire and Rescue.

Police union has an arresting campaign strategy

The Portland Police Association is the latest public employee union to make up to Mayor Charlie Hales. The police union’s political action committee — the Keep Portland Safe PAC — gave Hales $5,000 on Dec. 4. It had previously endorsed Jefferson Smith in the Portland mayor’s race and given him $10,000.

Ironically, the police union originally said it could not endorse any candidates in the mayor’s race. The PPA and three other unions issued a press release in December 2011 saying that none of the candidates was qualified to be mayor. The other unions were the Portland Firefighters Association, the International Longeshore and Warehouse Union Local 8, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48.

But after Hales and Smith qualified in May for a run-off election, the police union and firefighters union endorsed Smith. Both later withdrew their endorsements after news broke that Smith had struck a woman at a party while he was in college.

Neither union endorsed Hales during the run-off election, however, and the firefighters union has still not come around.

Fritz tries to avoid distractions in last term

CITY COMMISSIONER AMANDA FRITZDuring her reaffirmation ceremony on Jan. 5, Commissioner Amanda Fritz made it clear this would be her last term. Like former Mayor Sam Adams, who chose not to run for re-election in 2012, Fritz said she had too much she wanted to accomplish to be distracted by another campaign.

Among other things, Fritz said she plans to pursue improving mental health services and restoring the city’s public campaign financing program during the next four years. She also said the new Office of Equity was one of her top priorities. Of course, that depends on getting Hales to reassign it to her.

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