Petersburg Borough to be Represented by Anchorage Legal Team in Lawsuit

Petersburg Borough Assembly Chambers. (Photo by KFSK)

The Petersburg District Assembly met on Monday afternoon last week. During that meeting, they also scheduled a special executive session — closed to the public — that took place on Friday.

The Petersburg City Meeting considered a resolution to change the meeting times. It suggested moving everyone meeting times until 18:00 in the evenings instead of alternating afternoon and evening meeting times. Three residents supported the resolution.

Danna Thynes called in to comment. “For the past few years,” she said, “the city meeting has alternately met at six in the evening, or 12 in the afternoon, unless someone really has their finger on the pulse of local politics which is hard to keep track of. This is especially a problem for people who are not retired, who still have day jobs.”

Gloria Ann Wallen personally testified in support of evening meetings and suggested that meetings be moved to seven o’clock instead of six o’clock. “Just because for us who are in the working public,” she said, “it’s very difficult for us as well as heads of department to get home, get our kids, get a babysitter who’s not in a sport there is not. , and can pay attention to our children to be here for the meeting. So I don’t know why six o’clock is now the new norm for most meetings… But it’s really not convenient for people with children.”

Assembly member Donna Marsh proposed an amendment to the resolution so that meeting times would be moved to seven. But that amendment failed. The Assembly received one letter opposing the resolution and one supporting it. They also received an unofficial petition with 72 signatures in support.

Assemblyman Bob Lynn spoke at length against changing the meeting times and reminded the Assembly of its history in considering this issue. He said the alternating times allow for a greater variety of participation. “Having afternoon and night meetings ensures that all residents have an opportunity to be heard, regardless of how they chose to participate. The ways to participate are different.”

He noted that those comments in favor of evening-only meeting times said the congregation should not favor the minority at the expense of the majority. Lynn said this is contrary to the goals of the congregation when they originally considered accessibility. “One common value that emerged,” he said, “and I want to emphasize, was to ensure that everyone in the city has an equal chance to participate, regardless of whether they are in the majority or the minority .”

Ultimately, the decision to change the meeting times to evenings failed by a four to three vote.

In other Assembly business, Assemblyman Bob Lynn was appointed deputy mayor. Ambre Burrell will join the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. And Scott Roberge will fill the vacant seat on the Ports and Harbors Advisory Board. The Assembly adopted two resolutions for the third and final time. In the future, property seized by the city due to tax foreclosure will be sold instead of being held for public use. And the Assembly approved the adjustment to next year’s fiscal year budget for known changes.

The meeting delayed making a decision on whether to hire an outside law firm to represent the city in a lawsuit. (The city faces two lawsuits, but the Assembly considered legal representation for only one of them.) That lawsuit involved a records request. It was filed by Don Koenigs against the city and Clerk Debra Thompson. The firm represented by the Borough’s insurance is Jermain, Dunnagan and Owens of Anchorage.

The Assembly chose to move that discussion to a special closed meeting that took place Friday at 5 p.m. so they could consult privately with the city’s in-house attorney. After that special meeting, the Assembly passed the resolution to appoint the law firm as special legal advisor for the lawsuit.

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