April 4, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 14

Letters to the Editor

Consider local preference

To the Editor:

Thank you and kudos to the Borough Assembly for having a noon meeting. It allowed me to attend without fear of being caught in the dark on my way home although it looked like the fog was going to make it difficult.

I know nothing about contract law but it appears that, once again, Manager Giesbrecht is going to send a substantial amount of money out of our community. He urged the Assembly to deny Jim Martinsen’s appeal against awarding a several million-dollar contract to a Ketchikan contractor for work in the North Harbor. Initially, Assembly person Kurt Wohlheuter was concerned and inclined to side with Martinsen. After arm-twisting in executive session, Wohlheuter changed his mind and sided with other Assembly members. Executive session equals public business done in private. Tsk tsk.

Maybe Manager G. had no choice but here is the rub. He made no effort to suggest a way to make local preference the order of the day. Any time a local business is capable of performing a job for the borough, that business should have preference. If the manager found himself required to award the contract to another community, he should have presented a solution to such a problem in the future. If our borough ordinances need to be changed to insure local preference, then our manager should have researched and suggested such a change. Funny that it was Martinsen who was suggesting that policies and procedures be amended so that this situation does not happen in the future.

From what I gathered at the Assembly meeting, local preference amounts to a 5% cushion for a local business and Martinsen’s bid appeared to be within that amount. From what I understood Martinsen to say, the amount of money we are talking about is $90,000. A several million-dollar local contract would have enough money circulating through our community to easily return that amount to borough coffers.

I sure hope the Assembly will take prompt action to insure that our local businesses are awarded local contracts.

George Cole

Keene Channel

Reader Comments