The Oregonian leads today with a long report detailing City Commissioner Randy Leonard's involvement with the city's police and fire pension and disability fund - as city commish, state legislator, union president, fund board member, and injured firefighter.
As an injured firefighter, Leonard relied on the fund for disability checks. As a fire union president and a fund trustee, he successfully boosted pensions and dominated the fund's board, at times pushing through controversial disability claims. And as a state lawmaker, he wrote a law to protect his own firefighter pension.
Now, amid mounting evidence of the fund's problems and renewed calls for reform, the 52-year-old Leonard faces perhaps the biggest dilemma of his career: Deciding how far he is willing to go to protect a system that he has spent much of the past 20 years shaping.
"Sometimes I feel pretty awkward here defending the system," Leonard said of the fund, which costs the average Portland homeowner $373 a year in property taxes. "But I know how the system works."
[Editor's Note: Randy Leonard is a regular contributor here at BlueOregon - and has not been consulted on this post. Randy, feel free to write your own item on the Oregonian story.]