Last Friday, I announced my proposal to form a City Budget Office, moving financial planning staff out of the Bureau of Financial Services where they are now housed within the Office of Management and Finance. As I noted in this post, this is a significant change to the City’s internal structure, and as such deserves thoughtful and inclusive consideration.
I am thrilled with the level of interest in this proposal since Friday. As I hoped, putting it on the Council Agenda has attracted more community members into the review and discussion of the problems and proposed solutions. Some Portlanders want more information about what I have proposed, others have suggestions for alternative mechanisms to achieve the goals of transparency, accountability, and improving good governance within the commission structure of Council. I have heard support for the concept both inside City Hall and from others, like this Oregonian Editorial. I have also listened to folks who want more time and details prior to full Council review and decision-making.
To summarize, the proposal would move 12 staff out of the Bureau of Financial Services in the Office of Management and Finance, and assign them to work within Financial Planning's existing $1.7m budget to form a new City Budget Office, directly accountable to all elected officials.
The remaining 646 staff, five bureaus, and $449 million budget for administrative functions of the City would continue to be under the direction of the Chief Administrative Officer in the Office of Management and Finance.
Instead of holding the public hearing on Wednesday with brief testimony from citizens, I asked for the item to be returned to my office, so that more Portlanders have time to consider it and have opportunities to give meaningful input and discussion. Office of Management and Finance Director Jack Graham will work with me so that we can make the best decisions concerning this new proposal, as we move forward together.
To receive email notification of public meetings and ways to give/receive input on this project, please contact Tim Crail at 503-823-3988.