Petersburg Pilot -

Voters to consider financial disclosure for a second time

 


The Petersburg Borough Assembly met on Thursday, Aug. 20, instead of their regularly Monday meeting, and took on a light agenda.

An ordinance to create a local exemption to the state’s financial disclosure requirement for some public officials passed unanimously on its third and final reading, which will leave voters to make the final decision on the matter in the Oct. 6 Municipal Election.

The financial disclosure requirement was put in place by the state to ensure that individuals do not use public service for personal financial gain. For many years public servants in Petersburg were exempt from the state requirement, but the issue had to go before the voters again last October following borough incorporation. At that time, voters narrowly defeated the ordinance to continue the exemption.

Assembly members have expressed unanimous support for an exemption. At Thursday’s meeting, Mayor Mark Jensen said, “I’m in favor of getting this on the ballot…I think it might help people participate in the elections if they didn’t have to file these disclosures.”

That’s especially relevant in Petersburg where many board and committee positions are filled by voters rather than by appointment. In the past few weeks, Borough staff have posted notices to garner candidates for 21 open seats on seven boards and commissions, three of which require candidates to file financial information (the Assembly, School Board and Planning Commission).

Jensen also said that he didn’t feel that the state requirement was necessary for a small municipality like Petersburg.

Vice Mayor Cindi Lagoudakis spoke to a similar point. “In a small community we tend to know what each other’s business is,” she said, adding that there are “checks and balances” in place as well, such as a recall procedure and a rule against assembly members receiving paid borough positions within a year of their service on the assembly.

If Petersburg voters vote in favor of the exemption, Petersburg will join the 122 of Alaska’s 353 municipalities that have a similar exemption in place, including Haines, Sitka, Ketchikan and Kake. Wrangell’s voters will also consider an exemption in their October election.

In other Assembly news, both of the September meetings will be moved from Monday to Thursday and have a noon start time in order to achieve a quorum. The Assembly approved the temporary change unanimously with a resolution.

Also approved was a sand bid award. Northwood Sand & Gravel of Petersburg was awarded the $36,000 bid over apparent low bidder Ready Mix of Ketchikan (bidding $35,000) in accordance with the Borough’s code for local bidder preference. The 1,000 tons of 3/8” minus sand will be used

by the Public Works

department.

 

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