Assembly Considers Closer Oversight of Management
Tuesday, 13 November 2012
Despite having met with the school board earlier in the evening, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly held its second work session of the night on Thursday, though there was only one item on the agenda: revising borough code for professional services contracts.
The call for revisions came about earlier this fall when questions were raised among some assembly members about conflict of interest regarding contracts between the borough and assembly members.
Assemblyman Tuck Bonney and Assemblywoman Carol Austerman met
earlier in the week with borough staff to scrape through the code and
make draft changes. One of the three big changes recommended to the
assembly would require the borough manager to report any contracts
between the borough and any assembly member or their immediate family at
the next regular meeting. Before, any contract under $25,000 could be
done at the manager’s discretion. If this change is made then all
contracts that pose a possible conflict of interest, no matter the
amount, will be brought to the assembly.
change would allow contracts for professional services that don’t pose a
conflict of interest to forego the bid process entirely. Austerman said
the assembly would still be the deciding factor.
-- (Borough Code 1 :21 “And what Tuck and I wanted…but only by the assembly’s direction.”)
Austerman said the borough manager would still have a say in the
matter, in fact it would be the manager who would make the
recommendation to the assembly about the exemption.
-- (Borough Code 2 :19 “Because it was originally written that…to come before the assembly.”)
Acting Borough Manager Bud Cassidy stepped in to clarify exactly what this change could mean.
-- (Borough Code 3 :20 “Let me give you a real world example…need something fairly quickly.”)
According to the draft, assembly members could approve the exemption
by consensus via email, but Assemblyman Aaron Griffin questioned if that
method violated open meetings laws
-- (Borough Code 4 :11 “I guess I’m worried that this is…then we’re conducting business.”)
Cassidy said the borough attorney still needs to comb through the
recommendations and said they will be sure to get her legal opinion on
the matter. Another potential change that endured heavy discussion was
the section of the code pertaining to change orders. While Bonney and
Austerman did recommend some changes, it was agreed by most assembly
members that the section needs an even closer look and should be
reworded to fit larger projects. Austerman said she would sit down with
borough staff and fellow assembly members to do just that. The hope is
to have a draft of all the changes ready for introduction by the
assembly during the first meeting in December.