Portland Mayor Charlie Hales promised upon taking office to cut non-essential expenses out of the city budget.
This afternoon, he announced the first one he's cutting: a public-private partnership to give summer jobs to teenagers.
Hales' office said today it will not bring to City Council two items it removed from the agenda earlier this month: A grant and a contract amendment that would have given local non-profit Worksystems Inc. a total of $395,000 for its SummerWorks and Youth Connect teen internship programs.
The programs find summer jobs for low-income people ages 16 to 24 in Multnomah and Washington counties.
“Mayor Hales knows the value of summer internships, and has great respect for the good work of Worksystems Inc.,” Hales' chief of staff Gail Shibley said in a prepared statement. "These budget decisions simply reflect the tough fiscal reality we face, and the mayor is committed to leading by example as the council begins crafting next year’s budget. Every dollar of general fund saved today can go toward the $25 million hole the city faces.”
A $200,000 contract amendment would have helped fund a program that gives city businesses a $500 tax credit for offering a Youth Connect paid summer internship to teens and young adults. Another $195,000 grant would have started a similar program, SummerWorks, in city bureaus.
The two items rolled automatically onto Hales' City Council agenda, placed there by former Mayor Sam Adams. Hales pulled them off the agenda before his first council meeting on Jan. 2.