internal legal problems of the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly continued at last
night’s meeting. Jay Barrett has more.
direct mention was made of the latest lawsuit against the borough – that
brought by three assembly members against the mayor and three of their
colleagues – lawsuits and legal representation was the dominant topic at the
assembly meeting last night.
assembly members spoke up at the beginning of the meeting urging the assembly
to pay the outstanding legal fees for Tom Abell, Reed Oswalt and Louise Stutes
in the Mel Stephens attendance case. They were Stephens and Barbara Williams.
said that if there had been better communication between the assembly and the
public last fall, the lawsuit by Stephens, which the borough lost, might never
have been filed. She criticized the assembly for failing to override Mayor
Jerome Selby’s veto of a resolution paying legal fees.
paying their modest legal fees.”)
also said that Assemblywoman Chris Lynch’s urging of a recall petition might
result in different members of the assembly being removed than she may have had
said the legal fees for Abell, Oswalt and Stutes could have been paid without
assembly action by Borough Manager Rick Gifford – and that they can still be:
-- (Mel mgr
pay 1 47 sec “…
of the constitution demands no less.”)
hearing was held later in the meeting on an ordinance sponsored by
Assemblywoman Pat Branson that would require assembly approval for payment of
legal fees with public money if an assembly member gets an outside attorney.
Stephens, himself an attorney, did not think highly of the concept:
you should vote this down immediately.”)
though, was undeterred:
spending dollars or wanting a bill paid.”)
Oswalt was irate at the ordinance, and compared it to a dystopian George Orwell
the next thing that we’ll have are thought police.”)
In the end,
consideration of the ordinance was postponed until the assembly meeting of
August 7th. In asking for the postponement, Abell said the time
could be used for assembly members to come up with an ordinance they all would
be more comfortable with.
no discussion of the 200-thousand dollar-plus lawsuit Abell, Oswalt and Stutes
filed earlier this month against the borough, Mayor Selby and assembly members
Branson, Lynch and Sue Jeffrey. Assemblyman Jerrol Friend is not named in the