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Copyright vEsti24
Mar 16 2012
Assembly Talks Trash, Borough Manager Announces Resignation PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 March 2012

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           The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly continued its debate over trash and recycling at last night's regular meeting and made public the impending resignation of the borough manager, Rick Gifford.

          Hard feelings directed toward Alaska Waste came out during a discussion of whether to assign their contract to Waste Connections, a California-based company that bought Alaska Waste last year. Assembly members Mel Stephens and Louise Stutes spoke against transferring the contract.


"I feel that Alaska Waste is presently in violation of those provisions of the contract which require senior citizens to be given a senior citizens discount. Some of them are being given and some of them are not." -Mel Stephens

"I don't think Alaska Waste has lived up to their contract, I don't think that they've used due diligence and I don't think that they've used the efforts that should have been used to explain what's going on to this community."-Louise Stutes


            On the other side of the issue, assembly members Chris Lynch and Carole Austerman saw the need to move forward with assigning the contract to Waste Connections so that perceived problems that arose with Alaska Waste can be worked out.


"This is a business deal between Alaska Waste and Waste Connections. If we have problems with the contract, we need to address the specific contract with Alaska Waste. They're changing business. We need to change with them so we can continue dialogue." -Chris Lynch

"If there are issues at hand, especially something that is of such a small piece of the solid waste plan as the senior citizens discount, I would think that we could handle that in a way outside of stalling this assignment and in putting the contract in some kind of limbo." -Carole Austerman


            With assembly member Dave Kaplan excused from last night's meeting, a vote on the measure would have split 3-3. Assembly member Tuck Bonney, who had expressed earlier in the meeting that he would vote against the reassignment of the contract, changed his mind so that negotiations for a recycling program could move forward.


"I think it needs to be approved because I don't want to let it get in the way. What we're trying to do is get a good recycling program for this community. That is the most important thing, not how angry I am or anybody else is at Alaska Waste and their management. So I will vote for this to run it through and I will fight it tooth and nail."


            The assembly passed the measure to reassign the contract to Waste Connections 4-2. The company has been given formal notice that they have until March 28th to submit an official plan for recycling.

            As part of his report, Borough Manager Rick Gifford read his letter of resignation addressed to the borough mayor and assembly. Mayor Jerome Selby thanked Gifford for his service to Kodiak.


"We certainly appreciate and on behalf of the community appreciate the years of work you've put in here. I thin you've done a lot of good things for us and it's greatly appreciate. Hate to see you go but wish you well with the Aleutians East, our friends to the west. We speak too often, so I'm sure we're going to continue to see you and interact with you from time to time. I really do appreciate all the work you've provided for the Kodiak community over the years."


            Gifford was hired in 2005 after 17 years with the city of Seward. He's accepted a job with the Aleutians East Borough. The position is based in Anchorage and is closer to his family. Gifford's last day will be June 13th.

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