Petersburg Pilot -


Assembly retains Harbor Board after latest review hearing


At its latest advisory board review hearing, the borough assembly voted to retain the Harbor advisory board as an elected body.

The board review hearings come after several assembly members questioned the efficiency and viability of advisory boards and committees.

Steve Giesbrecht, Borough Manager, said in an earlier interview many board members remain in place for several years and if and when they do leave it’s sometimes difficult to find replacements.

“Good government involves a lot of input from its citizens,” Giesbrecht said. “If you have a board that is the same people all the time that echoes the same ideas all the time, is that in the best interest of the community?”

The Harbor Board is the third board the assembly has reviewed. In September it voted to allow the utility and motor pool advisory boards to dissolve.

The borough sent out an evaluation form to be filled out by advisory boards department-wide as it considers whether or not to keep them. Questions on the form include how many times it has met in the past year, what issues had been addressed and why and what the board believes it has accomplished during the past several years.

The Harbor Board works with and provides information to the assembly regarding projects such as harbor user policy, the North Harbor, the Scow Bay Turnaround and sea lion issues among others.

During the meeting, assembly member Joan Hoag said if the board were to remain it should be appointed rather than elected because of costs associated with having runners on the ballot.

Assembly member Nancy Strand said the board should remain an elected body because it’s one of the few board races that is contested.

“As long as there’s more people interested in being on the board than there are seats I think we should keep it elected,” Strand said.

Hoag was the only assembly member to vote against keeping the Harbor Board an elected body.

If the assembly wants to keep the boards and committees it will need to create an ordinance within the first year of borough formation to do so. If it does nothing the board will dissolve. Mayor Mark Jensen said the public is invited to comment on the boards and committees in the meantime.

Additional advisory boards to be considered are Transient Room Tax, Public Safety, Parks and Recreation, and the Public Library board.


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