On September 24th, the City finally offered a counter proposal over the impact of the City’s $15 minimum wage ordinance passed on February 18, 2015. The main impact of the ordinance upon our members is within the Police Administrative Support Classification Series, which includes several job classifications that are currently below the required $15 minimum.
Our members and management are well aware of the staffing shortages faced by Police Records Specialists, Police Desk Clerks and Police Administrative Specialists. The Union researched the compensation level of these employees and found that the City of Portland is paying less than the vast majority of it’s counterparts in the Pacific Northwest. The starting wage of a Police Records Specialist is the lowest we found, including smaller jurisdictions like Salem and Corvallis. Further, the City recently increased the Records Specialist classification in the Bureau of Environmental Services to an entry wage of $20.75 in order to address recruitment and retentions needs. The compensation for this positon has always been equal to the salary of the same classification in Police.
Seeing this as an opportunity to address a legitimate problem, the Union proposed that the City apply the same increase to the Police Records Specialist classification as it recently applied to the Records Specialist position, and then increase the other classifications in the series commensurately. After several months of research, the City of Portland Human Resources Division finally returned to the table with a proposal that fails to address the compensations and staffing issues within the Police Bureau, claiming that they were unaware of any problems with recruiting and retention. An hour later, the Portland Police Bureau posted the above photo on it’s Facebook page, saluting the Police Records Specialists, “who do great work for little recognition.” You can say that again.