Sunday, May 19, 2013
KIB Mayor Muzzle Ordinance Passes
The code change mandates the mayor obtain authorization from the assembly before speaking on the borough's behalf.
The fallout surrounding a letter sent by the borough mayor and later rescinded by the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly will result in a change of borough code after passage of an ordinance by a one-vote margin at Thursday's assembly meeting.
The letter was sent by Kodiak Island Borough Mayor Jerome Selby at the end of September just under the deadline to comment on groundfish closures because of tanner crab bycatch, before the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Anchorage. Assembly members did not see the letter before it was sent and some disagreed with its contents.
The code change mandates the mayor obtain authorization from the assembly before speaking on the borough's behalf. It treats assembly members similarly and requires that they also obtain authorization before speaking on behalf of the borough or the assembly.
The ordinance was amended by the assembly before it was passed. Assembly member Judy Fulp asked that a sentence about sending personal correspondence on borough letterhead be struck from the ordinance. She said it was redundant because the ordinance already restricts communication without the approval of the assembly.
The amendment also passed by one vote.
Voting against the amendment and the ordinance were Chris Lynch, Dave Kapaln and Sue Jeffrey.
"I believe what we have in place works just fine," Jeffrey said. "I think the added language is onerous. I think it will slow government process.
"For example, I don't think we sent our representatives to the (International Pacific Halibut Commission) meeting with a particular script. I think it will be a real time-waster."
Voting for passage of the code change were Louise Stutes, Fulp, Jerrol Friend and Carol Austerman.
"This just makes it real clear that we act as a whole, not as an individual," said Stutes, who authored and introduced the ordinance. "I think it's important to future assembly people and future mayors. It just spells it out."
Fulp echoed her comments.
"I really think we have to be careful in situations, especially when we are speaking for the whole community," Fulp said.
She added the assembly could call a special meeting if it needs to come to a quick consensus on an issue.
"I think it's mainly fisheries issues that get us in trouble," Fulp said. "I think it's a protection for the mayor and the assembly."
"I don't see how it's going to slow anything down," Friend said. "It still gives the mayor the right to have his own personal opinion and speak those out. You just can't specify that you are speaking for the borough unless we have everyone in agreement."