Wheeler forfeits rest of ’20 salary, furloughs announced for non-union workers

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Non-union employees required to take 10 days of unpaid leave

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Non-union City of Portland employees were notified furloughs would be coming to help ease the financial toll the COVID-19 response has taken on local government.

In a letter sent out Tuesday to all city employees — excluding the Portland Police Bureau and Portland Fire and Rescue — City of Portland Chief Administrative Officer Tom Rinehart said in order for the city to recover as quickly as possible, “We are asking all employees to make sacrifices that help us address the anticipated shortfall.”

The first move was made by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler who has eliminated his own salary for the remainder of the calendar year, except for required healthcare deductions, Rinehart confirmed.

Rinehart outlined the immediate steps the city would be taking for non-union employees:

  • Effective July 1, 2020, no cost-of-living raises will be awarded to non-represented employees until further notice. 
  • Effective Tuesday, all merit increases will be frozen for non-represented employees. Employees with anniversary dates on or before April 10, 2020, are still eligible to receive merit increases as their performance evaluations are processed. Employees with anniversary dates between April 11 and June 30, 2020, will still receive performance evaluations from their managers. Their merit increases will be suspended until the City determines it can process this award. Employees with anniversary dates after July 1, 2020, should not expect to receive a merit award during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. 
  • All non-represented employees will be required to take 10 days of unpaid leave, known as furlough, between April 30 and Oct. 7, 2020. Bureaus will have flexibility in determining how each person meets this requirement. Options include taking one furlough day each pay period, taking two days per pay period or taking one week at a time.

Officials estimate the city’s general fund will lose up to $100 million or more by July 1.

Non-union employees make up about 28% of all City of Portland employees. City spokesperson Dylan Rivera added the city is in negotiations with the union for reductions, as well.

“This was thoughtfully planned. This was a careful, deliberate action today,” Rivera said. “We all need to do what we can to continue to provide city services during this crisis and help Portland recover.”

It was not immediately made known the specific departments and offices that would immediately be affected.

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