THE CITY AND BOROUGH OF JUNEAU, ALASKA
NOVEMBER 15, 1999
MEETING NO. 99-34: The Regular meeting of the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, held in the Assembly Chambers of the Municipal Building, was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Mayor Dennis Egan.
Assembly Present: Garrett, Perkins, Powell, Egan, Muñoz, and Koelsch
Assembly Absent: Hagevig, Kibby, and MacKinnon
A quorum was present.
Staff Present: Marian Miller, Municipal Clerk; Dave Palmer, City Manager; John Corso, City Attorney; Donna Pierce, Deputy City Manager; Ernie Mueller, Public Works Director; Alan Heese, Acting Airport Director; Craig Duncan, Finance Director; Gary Mendivil, Eaglecrest Business Manager; Joan Roomsburg, Sales Tax Sr. Accountant; Joan Wilkerson, Personnel Director; Wendie Marriott, Zach Gordon Manager
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-28, held August 26, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-29, held September 13, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION - by Koelsch, to approve the minutes of Regular Meeting No. 99-30, held September 20, 1999, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
SPECIAL ORDER OF BUSINESS
Mr. Corso swore in Mr. Don Etheridge, Jr., Mr. Tom Garrett and Ms. Frankie Pillifant as Assembly Members.
Mr. Powell recognized visitors to Juneau from the Sister City, Vladivostok. He thanked Susan Moreland for her efforts with the Sister Cities Program. He introduced the delegation of four, which included a surgeon and a pediatrician who would be working in the hospital, and a person from their tourism program. He presented a letter from the of the Vladivostok City Administration to Mayor Egan thanking him for the continuation of the successful program and the relationship that has been established.
Mr. Palmer noted that item B1, Location transfer of liquor license for Moose Lodge #700, was to be removed from the Consent Agenda as it had been dealt with at an earlier special Assembly meeting.
Testimony was limited to three minutes per individual.
Patrick Owen, Switzer Village. As a resident of Juneau for 36 years, and he has noticed an increase in the cost of city government and he thought a lot of the increases were for things that some people did not want, but everyone had to pay for. He was bothered by the boat ramps and said he uses them a lot. For a long time there were no fees on the ramps but he realizes that it costs to maintain things and he did not mind paying for that. The increase from $25 to $35, mixed with the competition from tourism, was irritating. The maintenance should be taken care of from the license fee, the gas tax, and the launch ramp fee. The concrete is falling apart and there is a big drop off at the Douglas ramp. He did not like to see the deterioration of the harbors when so much money was being raised but not put back into the harbors.
William Phillip Dunn, 11425 Glacier Highway. He welcomed the new and returning Assemblymembers and wished them all well. He said there was probably no one in the community who cared more than he about library services. He praised the librarians and the contributions the libraries make. But, he said, he had never been so mistreated in his life as he was by certain members of the library staff, above all, by the Director Ms. McCabe. He received the most insulting letter from her last week. The book is still very special, even with all the changes in technology. He saw a professional discard a book by a very honored writer, that was still in good shape and costs $18+, by ripping out pages, so he tried to explain to the professional his concern. Shortly after which he received the letter, which he immediately requested be retracted, and that the director be reprimanded. The library is a very important part of the community and until recently he has always had a good relationship with Ms. McCabe, sharing a lot in common. He now questions her personal integrity and her professional competence. He suggested the idea of an appointed library board and said about 60% of public library systems are going that direction.
Anthony Reiger, 5931 Montgomery Street. After listening to the stunning revelations from the CBJ Public Works Director in a public meeting, that partially treated and untreated sewage was pouring onto the Mendenhall Wetlands from three major dump sites and numerous minor ones, and that it had been going on with the CBJ official’s awareness for over 15 years, he was deeply shocked. He asked why something had not been done to protect the public interest and why state, federal and borough agencies had not done more. Why did some appointed and some elected individuals make the choice over and over down through the years not to address public health and welfare in a public venue. As a taxpayer he felt outraged that the peoples’ elected representatives took over the liability of the Bonnie Brae system without a full public disclosure of the magnitude of the problem from a legal and public health standpoint. As a frequent user of the refuge, and someone who has recruited young people who appreciate and use the priceless resource, he was outraged that a hole spewing unhealthy effluent, in violation of federal law, had been left unmarked and that large areas of contaminated beach and tide flats have been unposted and that for 15 years officials whose minimal responsibility was to report the filth and the violations of the laws to each other and most importantly to the user public of all ages, chose time and time again not to make public what they knew, when they knew it. He asked why the conspiracy of silence to the public and said he was amazed that some officials expressed outrage themselves, claiming they were the ones who had been blindsided on a press release. He requested that the Assembly appoint a blue ribbon panel from the public to review CBJ’s wastewater treatment policies, past and present, and to begin that review as soon as possible. As one of the agency people recently explained to him "The local wastewater policy is solely complaint driven" and he wanted to make sure his presentation was considered a complaint.
Mr. Garrett asked if he was aware of the North Douglas sewer plant. Mr. Reiger said he was aware of the sewer plant but he was not aware of the hole which anyone could step into and sink up to their hip, thereby breaking a leg, that is spewing, in violation of federal law, effluent from the Bonnie Brae Subdivision. He said there was one sign that was posted many years ago that was partially concealed by branches that had grown in front of it, about three quarters of the way down the trail. That was the only public notice of what was an outrage and taking place on the beach. In talking with some employees of CBJ, neither plant at the present time is equipped to handle the cross channel effluent coming from Bonnie Brae.
Mr. Garrett suggested that those who were interested could have been at many of the meetings being held over the past two years on development of the plan. He said he would look forward to Mr. Reiger's positive support in the vote for the $14M bond proposition to build the sewer system. Mr. Reiger said he would offer his support on expanding the sewer system but the main thrust of his anger was that while there were discussions about what to do with Bonnie Brae and where the channel crossing may or may not be located, large areas of contaminated beach and tidelands were allowed to go unknown to the majority of the people who use those flats. This could have been done 15 years ago by adequately posting and making this public so young hunters were not walking through sewage. There was no excuse for this not being made public when officials knew about it 15 years ago.
Judy Parrish, 895 W. 12th, testified as Chair of the Juneau Commission on Aging. She said in October the Juneau Commission on Aging received an invitation from the Alaska Commission on Aging, AHFC, and other senior organizations, to nominate two delegates for the Common Ground Conference being held in Anchorage in January. They named the nominees at their November meeting. The Common Ground sponsors would make scholarships available to cover hotel and food expenses and delegates were asked to pay for travel and registration. That could run from $258.00 – 300.00 each. She requested that CBJ underwrite the travel and registration costs so the Juneau delegates could attend the conference.
Ms. Muñoz asked what the total cost would be. Ms. Parrish said currently, the lowest fare was $228.00 and the registration fee was $50.00
Mala Reges, 226 St. Ann’s in Douglas, testified on behalf of Cruise Control, Inc. (CCI). First, they wanted to congratulate the new Assemblymembers and say they would be looking forward to working together to find solutions to the tourism impacts that have been adversely affecting the quality of life in this community. Second, they wanted to correct a misconception created by the Juneau Empire’s article of November 9th. CCI was not formed because ERA was contemplating a move to the lower Rock Dump for its flightseeing operations. It was started because the community-wide level of frustration with the tourism impacts reached a critical mass with that proposed move and the way in which it was handled by the CBJ. Collectively, the members of CCI have significant experience trying to work through the CBJ process to alert the Assembly to community concerns about the impacts of tourism and to seek solutions for addressing those concerns. What they found over time was that the process did not work. Largely their efforts were unsuccessful because they either acted as individuals and were therefore easy to dismiss or ignore, or because their group efforts were ultimately controlled by special interests. CCI has every hope and expectation that the Assembly, as it is constituted presently, can do what past Assembly’s have failed to do with controlling tourism. CCI feels it is necessary to provide a non-governmental forum in which citizens can formulate workable solutions, free from constraint and outside influences. CCI is seeking to come up with reasonable, workable citizen based solutions to mitigate the impact of tourism in our community and they will seek to implement the solutions to the process that is in place if possible, or otherwise if necessary. They hope the Assembly and the tourism industry would welcome their input and work together to facilitate solutions to this problem. Their members are committed to living in a community that puts health, well-being, and lifestyle concerns of its citizens above the solely economic needs of outside business or the needs of tourists to see as much of Juneau as possible in as little time as possible, regardless of the cost to the citizens of this community.
Larri Spengler, 4545 Thane Road, President of the Thane Neighborhood Association – a group of about 60 households living on Thane Road. The members of the Association are becoming more and more vocal, both at internal meetings and in other quorums, about their concerns with noise from fixed wing and helicopter flights over Thane and down the channel. They are participating in the Forest Service process as they consider how many permits to issue for helicopter landings. The Forest Service cannot solve all the problems as they only have certain authority over certain aspects of the noise that is troubling the residents. It is Thane’s view that the CBJ is the entity that can help. They would like decisions made and ordinances put in place so that when issues come up, instead of pitting neighborhood against neighborhood, there would be something in place to address the issues. She appealed to the Assembly to take the issue seriously and offered to work with Assemblymembers as needed.
Ray Preston, 4990 Thane Road. He congratulated the new and returning Assemblymembers. He thought it was past time for the Assembly to start dealing with the tourism issue. In years past, the Forest Service had occasion to make a decision with regard to applications for landing permits for helicopter operators. He referred to the 1995 EIS issues by the Forest Service, which stated quite clearly that while they were making a particular decision, they were looking for guidance from the CBJ. The Assembly has been silent ever since. He felt it would be appropriate for the Assembly to consider adopting or passing a resolution requesting the Forest Service actually roll back the number of granted permits that will be issued. He presented a handout showing the number of landings in the past and the number proposed for the future.
George Imbsen, 2113 Second Street, Douglas, since 1978. Ten years ago there was a considerable increase in the floatplane activity on the channel in front of his home. Along with that activity came noise. He has been before the Assembly two other times and he became part of the second Ad Hoc Committee. More recently, he attended meetings of the Harbor Board when they discussed the ERA Helicopter proposal to move its operation to the little Rock Dump. They said this move would impact fewer people. He said that when they purchased property on the channel, and later built their home, there was not a significant amount of floatplane take-offs and landings and there was no heliport across the channel. There was no information available to him to indicate this might happen. At the September 21 TAC meeting on flightseeing noise, 60-70 residents came to discuss the problem; the overwhelming majority came to complain about the noise and give their recommendations. The following TAC went against those recommendations and they were provided with an update on what appropriate action could be expected. He said he left the meeting with little hope that the committee would deliver any meaningful short-term solutions or any long-term visionary plan. He thought the benefits of these flights to the community were far less than the impact they have on the community. He did not feel it was reasonable for anyone to have to stop their conversation, in their home, to make it easier or cheaper for tourists to view anything. He did not think it was reasonable to adversely affect anyone’s sleep or work to make it easier or more profitable for flightseeing operators. He asked the Assembly for solutions to the flightseeing noise problem that would not move the problem from one neighborhood to another. When he was on the noise committee, a resident who attended a number of their meetings wrote a letter with visionary ideas which were included in their report and he felt they still had merit. He encouraged the Assembly to consider those ideas that were part of the report from the Ad Hoc Committee of 1994.
Arnold Liebelt, 2.5 mile South Douglas, across from the Sheep Creek Bridge on Thane Road. He also wanted to voice his concerns about tourism and floatplane traffic in the channel during the summer months. He lives approximately 22 miles from the airport, however during 120 days of the year, the airport sounds like it is in their front yard. From May to September, Wings of Alaska conducts an average of 45 round trip flights per day and up to 75 flights per day on busy cruise ship days. That translates to approximately 150 fly-bys within a 10-hour period. He did not feel that he and his family, or his neighbors, should have to put up with that much noise. The aircrafts are well below 1000 feet when they go by his house. The TAC meetings that he attended focused around mid- and long-term solutions such as satellite heliports and incorporating quieter technology. However, the TAC and the industry have not discussed any short-term solutions during the interim period. He requested that members of the Assembly address the issue and work with citizens to develop workable and immediate solutions that can be implemented before the industry starts up again, in the very short eight months from now. Tourism may be good for the economy but it is the locals and not the tourists that have in the past and always will be the economic backbone of this community. While sales tax and property tax continue to increase, his quality of life continues to decline. He said he has the right to vote and he and others have decided that they will not support any increase in property or sales tax whatsoever until they start seeing an immediate reduction in air traffic noise and an increase in their quality of life, which they believe they pay substantially for.
Kim Metcalf Helmar, 730 Gold Street, representing the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA). She welcomed the new Assemblymembers on behalf of the DNA and said they were excited to see an Assembly that they felt would be very progressive and more responsive to the wishes of the people. They would like to see much-needed reform to the industrial tourism industry. A 70% vote on the passenger fee initiative was a mandate to do something about the problems caused by industrial tourism. She also thought that something had to be done before the start of the next cruiseship season. The DNA would like to see significant decreases in the amount of air traffic and the associated noise, they would like to see significant decreases in the amount of air pollution from cruiseships and buses, and they do not believe that voluntary compliance was going to work anymore. The CBJ needs to enact ordinances to regulate this industry; industrial tourism should be treated no differently than the mining, timber and the oil industries.
Rob Miller, 225 Irwin. He welcomed the new Assemblymembers and said he always felt we get what we deserve in the way of representation. He agreed with previous testimony and voluntary compliance has not worked. The essence of democracy is that if 80% of the residents in town are not directly related to the tourism industry, then about 80% of the TAC should not be directly related to tourism. Second, in regard to enacting the head tax, realizing there are still legal questions about it, he suggested that the Assembly now has a control mechanism that it can adjust. If the rate of tourism grows too much, crank the knob over a little ways. $5 is cheap and he said if he were a tourist, he would rather pay $50 and not have five people right on his elbow.
Mr. Garrett clarified that item B-1 was removed. Mr. Powell asked for the removal of item A-2, Ordinance 99-36.
MOTION - by Garrett, to adopt the Consent Agenda, as amended with the removal of item A-2 and B-1, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
A. Ordinances for Introduction
1. Ordinance No. 99-33
AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE PURCHASING CODE TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEBARMENT OF VENDORS.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be introduced and set for public hearing at the next regular meeting.
C. Bid Award
Augustus Brown Pool HVAC.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended award of this project to RMC, Inc. in the amount of $313,000.00
A2. Ordinance No. 99-36
AN ORDINANCE ELECTING TO IMPOSE A MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION TAX.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended that this ordinance be introduced with Table 3 rates proposed. He suggested that if the Assembly wanted to change the ordinance to $25, they should do so before the public hearing. They could then debate the rate and lower it if they wanted. If the ordinance is introduced at $10, and then the Assembly wants to move it up, it may take longer and they may miss the opportunity to meet the time requirement.
Public Testimony: None
Mr. Powell asked for an explanation from the City Manager and clarified that this would help dispose of the junked vehicles that were collecting in the streets in an increasing rate and it would help defray some of the costs for mass-transit. Mr. Palmer and Mayor Egan said it would depend on the amount that was approved. Mr. Palmer said the money was not committed to any particular use and it would be the Assembly’s call.
Mr. Perkins wanted this scheduled in Finance the first part of next week.
Mr. Garrett asked if there would still be time to act on this if they waited until the first meeting of December. Mr. Palmer suspected so and said they would have to give DMV notice. The fee would not be implemented for one year, according to statute.
MOTION – by Garrett, to introduce this ordnance and schedule a public hearing at the first meeting of December, as recommended by staff, assuming that the Finance Committee would meet in the interim. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager and the Attorney had no recommendation as this was an adjudicatory matter.
Mayor Egan clarified that the two new Assemblymembers could vote if they read the proposed decision and it was not necessary that they participated in the hearing. Discussion ensued about what form the motion should take. Mr. Corso advised that the Assembly vote on whether to grant the appeal.
MOTION – by Garrett that the Assembly grant the appeal of the Last Chance Co-op et al., and he urged a no vote based on the decision rendered by the hearing officer.
Nays: Garrett, Koelsch, Muñoz, Perkins, Pillifant, Powell, Etheridge, and Mayor Egan
Motion fails 0:8
B R E A K
8:00 p.m. – 8:13 p.m.
A. Manager’s Report - Action Items
1. Haloff Way Maintenance Agreement
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended the Assembly adopt a motion authorizing this agreement. He noted that this item was separate and apart from the appeal that was pending.
Public Testimony: None
MOTION - by Garrett, for the purpose of discussion.
Mr. Garrett asked for clarification on whether the landscaping would have to be maintained. Mr. Palmer said that DOT’s expectation was that anything left behind would be taken care of. After the COW meeting, he spoke with a couple of neighbors and there was concern by those folks that the road was moving away from the existing property line. A couple of neighbors asked that DOT be allowed to move the fence away from the existing property line and out into what is the street right now. He spoke with DOT and told them that from his standpoint, if they want to move their fence out in the existing right-of-way, they could issue use permits so folks could use that right-of-way. If that happens, that would reduce the amount of landscaping.
Mr. Garrett did not feel it was clear in the Manager’s report because the report gives the impression that it would only cost about $1,400 a year in street lights, yet issues like mowing grass, which has a cost per square foot, is not recognized. Mr. Palmer said it could be added to the agreement that maintenance of landscaping was not included. Mr. Garrett wanted it to say that the fence would be moved as far out as practical to accommodate the road. He then asked who was responsible for the fence and Mr. Palmer said that right now DOT was working with the property owners to have them sign an agreement.
Mr. Perkins asked if the neighborhood supported this matter. Mr. Morrow with DOT came forward and said he did not feel that their position had changed; they were still in opposition to the project. The family at the corner of the Loop and Haloff had not expressed opposition.
Ms. Pillifant asked what would happen if the CBJ did not adopt this agreement. Mr. Morrow said that DOT was required to have the facility maintained and they can pass it on through a maintenance agreement to the local municipality. If the local municipality were not to agree to accept maintenance, they would not be able to construct the project. Currently they have advertised for construction bids, which should be opened on December 9th. Should the municipality not accept maintenance, DOT would have to cancel the advertising. Ms. Pillifant clarified this was a road that CBJ was currently maintaining. Mr. Palmer explained that currently it was a city street, but that DOT had acquired a right-of-way to move the street.
Mr. Koelsch commented that the testimony that was received at the COW made for a very tough decision because both sides had great presentations and both sides had some very legitimate concerns. The deciding factor was safety.
Mr. Garrett asked if Mr. Morrow had the authority to accept amendments to the agreement. Mr. Morrow assumed that his recommendation would be accepted. With regard to moving the fence as close as possible to the road, DOT has contended all along that moving the fence was not a big issue to them; they would put it wherever CBJ wants it. At a public meeting a year ago, he spoke with Mr. Maguire and he did not see it being a problem. When he met with Mr. Palmer a week after the recent COW, they left the meeting with the understanding that it would not be an acceptable solution because of concerns about the underground utilities. So they placed the fence around the property line until it got past the cul-de-sac. They also straightened out the fence so there could be access to one resident’s dumpster. Mr. Garrett reiterated that he would like the fence as close to the road as possible so there would not be a huge swath of grass that the City would have to maintain.
Mayor Egan asked if that would inhibit room for snow storage. Mr. Morrow said that they would not want to put the fence right up to the back of the sidewalk because they would want to have room for some existing trees and for snow storage. Mayor Egan clarified that DOT would be willing to work with the city. Mr. Morrow agreed.
Ms. Muñoz objected to the motion.
Ayes: Garrett, Koelsch, Powell, Etheridge, and Mayor Egan
Nays: Muñoz, Perkins, and Pillifant
motion carries 5:3
- Parks and Recreation Property Trade USSÆ
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager requested approval from the Assembly to negotiate a land exchange to acquire USSÆ .
Public Testimony: None
MOTION - by Garrett, that the Assembly authorize that the Manager enter into negotiations for land exchange to acquire USSÆ . There being no objection, it was so ordered.
- Bartlett Regional Hospital – MRI Funding
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager recommended the Assembly adopt a motion authorizing use of CBJ’s Key Bank lease for the MRI financing.
MOTION - by Perkins, to allow Bartlett to use the Assembly’s financing to finance the purchase of new MRI equipment and he asked for unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mayor Egan clarified that the new equipment was already installed. Mr. Powell noted that in the tour with the folks from Vladivostok, they were very impressed with the hospital’s MRI and CT and said that over time, the MRI would pay for itself because of the speed.
- NOAA – Lena Point Purchase Authorization
Administrative Report: Attached. Because funds were appropriated, no further action was required of the Assembly other than a motion to direct the City Manager to exercise the option and proceed with the acquisition.
MOTION - by Muñoz, for the purpose of discussion.
Public Testimony: None
Ms. Muñoz asked about the alternative access to the site and Mr. Palmer said they would get money from NOAA and the City had money scheduled in the CIP.
Ms. Pillifant clarified the area was outside the current service boundaries. Mr. Palmer said there was water out there and they were currently working on a water reservoir. NOAA is responsible for its own sewer.
Mr. Garrett asked if there was any sense of which alternative SECON was interested in pursuing. Mr. Palmer was not sure, but he felt that whichever option they chose, it would be final.
Mayor Egan said there was a tremendous amount of support from Senator Stevens on this and it had been a long and involved process. Senator Murkowski helped as well by helping draft the rider as did Congressman Young. He said there were a lot of behind-the-scenes people like John Katz from the Governor’s Office, Anna Kertula from the Governor’s Office in Washington, D.C., Andrew Lundquist in Senator Murkowski’s office who was responsible for drafting a lot of the major rider language, and Trevor McCabe, Jeff Stasler, and Lisa Sutherland in Senator Steven’s office. They all worked very hard on this project and he thanked them for their involvement.
Mr. Perkins also thanked Mayor Egan and Mr. Palmer for their efforts and for staying on top of this all this time. This will be a world class facility that will put Juneau on the map in the scientific arena.
There being no objection, it was so ordered.
- D&M Rentals, L.L.C.
Administrative Report: Attached. The Manager requested the Assembly move to abate the incorrect assessment and direct staff to refund to D&M Rentals their duplicate 1998 property tax payment of $2,404.00.
Public Testimony: None
MOTION - by Perkins, to pay D&M Rentals the overpayment back, in the amount of $2,404.00. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
B. Manager’s Report - Information Items
- Departmental Quarterly Reports– included in the packet.
- Eaglecrest – Constituent Fare Promotion – included in the packet.
- Collections of CBJ debts - attached
- Calhoun Street Pedestrian Bridge – attached
Mayor Egan thanked the Eaglecrest Board and Eaglecrest staff and also the JCVB for getting on the bandwagon for the constituent fares.
C. Attorney’s Report
– included in packet. Mr. Corso noted that the Law Department had relocated to the third floor of the Municipal Way Building.
- Quarterly Report
MOTION – by Muñoz, to confirm the appointment of incumbents Sharon Croll and Susan Warner to the Juneau Economic Development Council. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to confirm appointments of incumbents Mike Bavard, Dan Bruce and Tracey Ricker to the Planning Commission. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mayor Egan said the Alaska Committee would meet on Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. in the JEDC’s conference room.
Mr. Koelsch said the leadership team for the new High School would meet this Wednesday at noon at the District Office. The Transportation Steering Committee would meet on Thursday at noon in the Chambers.
Ms. Muñoz said the Trails working group would be meeting biweekly on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, at noon in the Chambers or in the downtown Library. The charge of the committee is to make recommendations for non-commercial and commercial trail use. Mr. Powell clarified that Parks and Rec was represented.
Mr. Perkins noted that staff would be meeting with the neighborhood at 7:00 p.m. at the Mendenhall Treatment Plant. He clarified that all the residents had been notified.
Mayor Egan moved this item until after Continuation of Public Participation on Non-Agenda Items. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Dixie Hood, 9350 View Drive. She wanted to testify about the Airport Manager and Airport Board situation. She said she has been a member of the Mendenhall Advisory Group and a member of the League of Women’s Voters but she wished to speak tonight as a member of public. In all of her interactions with the Airport Manager, she felt a very openness to public process and a willingness to provide information. She felt that was something that had not happened in regard to the Airport Board. She felt the Board was very focused on the aeronautic needs and aviation needs and that they didn’t get that it was a public board in this community which needs to profess the broader interests. She said this was evident to her on Wednesday evening when she sat in attendance at the Airport Board meeting. There was no information provided to the press or public about the appointment of the acting manager at the time it occurred or in the public meeting. There were several employees of the airport who were at the Board meeting who had not been told who the acting manager was. Then there was a discussion about the snow plow incident and near accident. When it was asked by the press, there was no information given saying it was a confidential meeting with the FAA and airport management. However, in the course of the discussion, Mr. Ralph Sanford said something that he believed was not confidential, which was that they wanted the FAA to extend the hours the air tower operates. A member of the board took that up, made a motion and they took action to ask the FAA to do this. She thought it was a pretty unusual process in which there was nothing about airport safety on the evening’s agenda but a member of the audience, the maintenance person, would be the one that would disclose to the public, even before the Board, that this was something that would be done now in terms of public safety. It struck her that there was something not very business like in the way it was handled. She thought the Board may be subject to some sort of influences or pressures that are not always known. When she was trying to get the funding for the League of Women Voter’s video taping of the forum, approval of funding had been given by the Manager. She went out of town and when she returned, KTOO said they had been cancelled. She spoke with the Manager’s Office and it appeared there had been pressure applied by some people and she was given some names to call. She called people who were not even Board members, who were trying to undermine this happening. One reply, from a non-Board member, tried to convince her that it was probably illegal or inappropriate for the Airport Manager’s Office to be funding a League of Women Voter’s televising. She asked that the Assembly consider some kind of review of the empowerment of the Board and that it be open to public input.
Mr. Koelsch asked if there was a date for the transfer of the Marine Highway Building. Mr. Palmer said they were continuing to work on the project and things were moving ahead although they did not have a signed agreement yet. Mr. Koelsch referred to a letter from the School Board regarding the Riverbend School playground and installing a six-foot fence and planting trees. He asked if there had been any follow-up on that. Ms. Pierce said there was a meeting scheduled to discuss that. Mr. Koelsch asked if it would be proper to discuss the issue of the Airport Manager.
Mr. Powell commented as the Liaison to the Airport Board. He clarified that the Board had been delegated certain responsibilities including firing and hiring the airport management. He has received a number of inquiries about the resignation of the Airport Manager so he asked Mr. Mike Barton, the Chair of the Board, to come forward to talk about the process leading up to the acceptance of the resignation of the airport manager and to assure the public and Assembly that in the interim, there will be no interruption.
Mayor Egan clarified with Mr. Corso that he would act as parliamentarian and attorney. Mr. Corso advised the Assembly that public discussion of personnel issues was not advised because personnel issues deal with people and their reputations and their feelings. He went on to give a number of examples of things that the Assembly should avoid in the discussion.
Mike Barton came forward and said he would also like to address the runway incident. Two and half weeks before the October Board meeting, two Board members came to him independently and asked what the procedures were for ending the relationship with the Airport Manager. Mr. Barton said he consulted with the Personnel Director about the procedures and reported back to the Board members. In the course of discussions with other Board members about other things, including the agenda for the upcoming Board meeting, it became clear to him that the Airport Manager would not survive a vote by the Board. A week before the Board meeting, he told the Manager that. The following day Mr. Miller called him to request a meeting and they met at 2:00 in Room 211. Mr. Barton had requested that the Vice-Chair also attend. Mr. Miller provided a letter of resignation and a separation agreement. One of the provisions of the separation agreement was that any discussions on the part of the Board had to be positive. Mr. Barton agreed with that. The separation agreement he agreed to was the one Mr. Miller presented to him.
Mr. Perkins asked if in his discussion with Mr. Miller, did Mr. Miller ask him or the vice-chair what the problems were associated with the potential no vote of confidence. Mr. Barton said he was not sure if it was at that meeting or later that Mr. Miller inquired. Mr. Perkins asked if Mr. Miller had asked if there was any chance of him correcting those deficiencies or complaints in order to keep his employment. Mr. Barton did not recall that he did with him, but he thought that maybe he had asked the vice-chair. Mr. Heueisen, vice-chair, came forward and said that at one point, after it had been explained to Mr. Miller that he probably would not survive a confidence vote, Mr. Miller had mentioned a list of scenarios that he would consider resigning under and the first one was whether or not there was some formal mediation where something could be worked out; if the City had something in place whereby that could happen. Mr. Heueisen did not answer at that time and came back to say the Board members were not interested in that.
Mr. Garrett asked if the relationship of the Airport Board to the Airport Manager was similar to the relationship the Assembly enjoys with the City Manager and the City Attorney. Mr. Corso said it was structurally similar but it did not contain some of the same limitations. A Charter rules the Assembly and that condition does not exist for the Airport Board. Mr. Garrett asked if there would be anything he would have to do prior to making a motion to terminate the Assembly’s relationship with either the Attorney or City Manager. Mr. Corso said, no. Mr. Garrett said if he knew that four other members of the Assembly would agree to terminating that relationship, would it be in the City Manager’s or Attorney’s best interest to wait until the end of the meeting and then make a motion in public to fire one or the other. Mr. Corso said that if something was said that could harm the persons ability to get a job, there could be the need for a name clearing hearing. Mr. Garrett asked that if there was a name clearing hearing, would it still be possible for the individual to keep their job. Mr. Corso said the purpose of the hearing would be to dispel any bad impressions about the person, not to get them their job back. Mr. Garrett said then that the best procedure for a city employee, as an individual, would be to meet privately and inform that person the confidence of the body had been lost and that it was time to move onto a new relationship. Mr. Corso suggested having a meeting to say that person’s services were no longer required.
Mr. Koelsch referred to the issues surrounding the meeting before the Airport Board meeting and he asked if there was a discussion and then a request for Mr. Miller to give his resignation and to continue to look for another job. Mr. Barton said two suggestions had been made, the first of July and the first of March. Mr. Barton said he did not think the Board would go along with that. Mr. Koelsch asked if he felt that the Airport Manager was aware of the Airport Board member issues after the last Board evaluation. Mr. Barton said the Board had done a performance evaluation of Mr. Miller in July and discussed certain aspects of his job. Mr. Koelsch clarified the Board felt Mr. Miller was aware of the issues. Mr. Barton thought, yes. Mr. Koelsch said he was looking at the spirit of the law and in that light, it was important to treat everyone with dignity and he did not think this situation had ended up that way. He recommended trying to use Mr. Miller’s services in the CBJ until he reaches the March 1st deadline. At that time, Mr. Miller would be vested in the retirement system and he clarified with Mr. Barton that the Board had not been aware of that anniversary date. Mr. Barton said at the time, no.
Mr. Barton said that Allen Heese, the Airport Administrative Officer, had been appointed the interim Acting Airport Manager. Mr. Heese has been with the airport for about five years and he will continue to serve in the interim capacity until the Board chooses someone else. The Board is actively recruiting and currently has some résumés for consideration. Mr. Powell asked the scope of the recruitment process. Mr. Barton said the search committee was considering going national and he anticipated searching locally and then nationally. Both résumés they currently have were from out of state. Mr. Powell encouraged the Board to communicate with Mr. Palmer.
Ms. Muñoz asked what the search would cost the CBJ. Mr. Barton said in discussions with Ms. Wilkerson, based on previous recruitment, nationally it could run $15,000.00. Ms. Wilkerson came forward and said that was a rough estimate based on previous advertising for harder to fill positions. There could be additional costs. Mr. Barton said that when they get to the selection stage, they intend to have members of the public on the selection committee.
Mr. Barton referred to the runway incident and said that last week, they met with the National Transportation Safety Board and part of that process was signing a confidentiality statement. They can talk about what the Board is doing but not much about what others are doing. One of the things they did was to reaffirm an earlier request to have the tower manned 24 hours a day. He encouraged the Assembly to join the Board in that request. They have re-emphasized with the crews that if they expect something to be happening and it is not, to find out why it is not. That was occurring at the time of this incident. The crew knew that they ought to be hearing this plane and they were not hearing it. Just about the time the plane landed, three minutes earlier than expected, the crew was asking why they weren’t hearing the plane. In addition, independently, they are asking controllers to instruct aircrafts to call in when they are crossing certain key areas so the snow plow crew can know where the aircrafts are.
Mr. Perkins thanked Mr. Miller for his service. He said he had always been a gentleman, had attended many many Assembly meetings, and he had always been courteous about Mr. Perkins concerns or constituents’ concerns. He said he was not aware of what the problems were or are, but he wanted to publicly thank Mr. Miller and asked if he would like to comment.
Mr. Barton said there were a lot of good people at the airport and a lot of good, dedicated volunteers working on the Board. He thanked them all.
Dave Miller, thanked the Assembly and welcomed the new members. He said the first Assembly meeting he attended was the firing of Mike Pouch and he said it was handled in a similar way. He still thinks the Airport Board should govern the Airport but there were things that needed to be fixed or tweaked. He thought the power to fire at will should be reserved to the elected body and not the delegation of appointed boards and commissions. In this scenario, there was one Board member out of town and the Board Chair votes in case of a tie; three votes was all it would take to get him out. He said Mr. Barton came to him a week before the Board meeting and said he had things to discuss. They got in the airport station wagon and drove around the airport to look at stuff. When they drove down the float pond road, Mr. Miller figured he was in trouble. Mr. Barton told him the Board was getting restless and he felt that they intended to go into executive session and ask for his resignation. Mr. Miller said to him then that his first choice would be to identify the problem and fix it. If that cannot be done, his second choice would be to allow him to seek employment elsewhere and give his resignation once he has suitable employment. His third choice would be for some sort of parachute as he has commitments to the community and a house to sell. They gave him a two-month parachute. Going back to the personnel evaluation that occurred in July, it was five months late and had been due in February. The entire time he has been in Juneau, he has never had a personnel evaluation on time so the fact that this one was late was not that unusual but it was very unusual that it was five months late. He thought no news was good news. All areas on the personnel evaluation were rated satisfactory and at no time have any of his evaluations been rated anything less than satisfactory. What did catch his attention was that in previous evaluations there were several areas marked outstanding. When he saw the decline from outstanding to satisfactory, he specifically asked the Board if this was an invitation to seek employment elsewhere. There was discussion and consensus that this was not an invitation to seek employment elsewhere. Two days after that meeting, he had a signed written apology from the Board stating that they had erred in delaying his performance evaluation and that the pay increase would be retroactive back to the anniversary date and the last sentence was "we look forward to continuing working with you in the future". In his opinion, that last line set him about three months behind in his job search. There were things that he could have possibly qualified for. At the October Board meeting, they went into executive session again for the evaluation. He asked Mr. Powell, as Assembly Liaison, to be in that meeting and for Joan Wilkerson, the Personnel Director, to be present in case there were technical questions that came up. He asked his wife also to be there. Again, he reflected to the Board that his first choice would be to identify the problem and fix it, and the Board was silent. His second choice was to allow him to seek employment elsewhere before giving his resignation. The provisions that went along with this was the two month parachute, any comments about his performance would come through the Board chairman and no one else, and they granted him, on a workload available basis, continued use of secretarial support from the airport in regard to his job search. He said he was optimistic about the future and wished they could stay in Juneau. He has commitments to the community through the month of December. He has always been keenly aware that the Lord has used his job to move him places where He wants him to go and he thinks he is getting the message loud and clear that it is time to move on to some place else.
Mr. Koelsch had suggested that Mr. Palmer meet with Mr. Miller to see if Mr. Miller’s services could be used in CBJ. Mr. Corso pointed out that the Assembly was precluded by Charter from recommending the removal of an employee other than the Manager and the Attorney. Mr. Koelsch just wanted the two to meet to discuss what some of the option may be within the CBJ. Mayor Egan said he did not have a problem with Mr. Palmer and Mr. Miller meeting, but he felt very concerned that it might be setting a dangerous precedent.
Mr. Corso read the Charter: "The Assembly shall not recommend or direct the appointment or removal of any officer or employee of the Municipal Administration except as otherwise provided by this Charter."
Mr. Perkins said he did not see Mr. Koelsch’s request as a way of strong-arming the Board into hiring Mr. Miller back. He sees it as an attempt to use Mr. Miller’s services some place else within the CBJ. He suggested looking at some of the power that the Airport Board has and helping them the next time something like this occurs.
Ms. Muñoz agreed that the Assembly should seriously look at the responsibility of the Board in regards to the hiring and firing of managers. Mr. Garrett thought the discussion should be done in the context of all Boards. That would then mean getting involved in the Hospital Board and the Harbor Board as they are basically structured the same.
Mr. Powell said the Assembly does have control of the Board through appointments to the Board.
Ms. Muñoz requested the opportunity for that discussion. Mr. Koelsch asked if it would be okay for Mr. Palmer and Mr. Miller to talk. Mayor Egan asked if there was objection and Mr. Garrett objected. He thought the Charter was exceedingly clear and the Assembly would be crossing the line.
Continuation of Assembly Comments and questions:
Mr. Perkins asked Mr. Miller about the follow up to the bus drivers concern about the upper landing at DZ. Mr. Palmer said he spoke with Mr. Bader. Mr. Perkins referred to the letter from the League of Women’s Voters regarding a survey. He said in light of a potential $7M budget deficit for the next two years, he would ask the Assembly to consider getting into a contract with the League to discuss and get a survey put together that informs the community of the potential shortfall. He hoped the survey would come up with some questions as a way to get input from the community on what services they feel may be cut in the event cuts needs to be done in the next bi-annual budget. He felt it would be worth finding the $5,000 somewhere to promote the survey to ask the hard questions about the services the community wants. Ms. Pierce said there should be some funds available in an Assembly contingency account; she said she would report back.
Ms. Muñoz referred to Mr. Owen’s request to put money back into the maintenance of harbor facilities and she asked that request be forwarded to the Harbor Board.
MOTION – by Muñoz, to fund the request of the Commission on Aging for approximately $600 from the hospitality account. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Ms. Muñoz had a call from a person who was very disgruntled with the process with regard to barking dogs. The requirement of 30 days is onerous and she asked for information on what the requirements were and how they could be made less onerous for people who are making complaints. Mr. Corso said that generally the requirements were not in code and were proposed by the Gastineau Humane Society based on what would stand up in court. Ms. Muñoz continued with the serious issues brought up by Mr. Reiger. Mr. Palmer said that Mr. Reiger used some pretty loaded terms when he talked about stunning revelations, when he expressed outrage over the fact that the City had taken over the sewer collection system of Bonnie Brae and when he talked about a conspiracy of silence occurring for the past 15 years. In fact, the City assumed responsibility of the system in Bonnie Brae in 1997. The previous 15 years, the on-site sewer system and the outfall was installed with the State of Alaska’s approval, with permits issued by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Since the City has acquired it, staff has started to do more than anyone has done in the past 15 years. The Assembly has authorized $250,000 and a firm was hired the first of July to design a connection to the offensive sewer line. The City has been working with the Dept. of Fish and Game (ADF&G) and the DEC and they have agreed to pursue a way to connect the line. An analysis was done of the collection system before the City took it over and the collection system has been rehabilitated and they have instituted an inspection program for each of the on-site plants. He said he felt the Assembly has appropriated money and undergone an appropriate course of action. The City and state have signed an agreement whereby there is a fix in place but there are still employees within agencies who are not happy and have been doing public notices and planning inspections. His feeling was that the CBJ and the Assembly had done about all it can do to address the problem, everything that the state agencies say the City needs to do. Ms. Muñoz clarified there were three unmarked sites on the beach that need to be marked. Mr. Palmer said there was one out-fall from Bonnie Brae. Ms. Muñoz thought the responsible thing to do would be to put signage around the problem area and not wait for the state agencies. Mr. Palmer did not have a problem with signs but said that would fall within the jurisdiction of DEC. DEC has issued permits for the system the way it is now. Mr. Mueller came forward and said the permit that was issued the 1st of November of this year requires the City put signs up. The sign that is there now was put there by DEC in the early 1980’s and it has not been maintained. The previous owners of the system did not require that anyone put signs up but this permit does. DEC has informed staff exactly what the signs need to say.
Mr. Garrett referred to page 3 of the revised pending items, under Public Works and Facilities, number E-6, "Sewer Projects Design & Costing: Back Loop Connection, North Douglas, Mendenhall Peninsula and Fritz Cove Road". In the four years he has been on PW&F, they have continuously addressed the sewer system expansion needs of the community. For anyone to allege that there is some grand conspiracy of silence is incredibly offensive. The big health hazard in North Douglas is not in the Mendenhall Refuge, but it is in the ditch that runs along the road from all the people on the up-hill side who are not connected to any sewer system and percolate in ground that does not process waste very well. Mr. Reiger's comments, although eloquent, were unfair to the PW&F committee and to the City staff. He thought it was important to get the word out about all the work that is going on, and to point out that when considering the take over of the Bonnie Brae Subdivision system, a solution to the waste problem was brought to the PW&F committee which was to install a very simple small chlorinating plant at the end of the pipe before it goes into the refuge. The City offered to fix the problem and to do it inexpensively and ADF&G said no. For them to turn around and beat the City up about it the way they have adds insult to injury.
Mr. Powell asked what would be done as a result of the agreement. Mr. Palmer said they would have the construction plans completed by July 2000 and by August of 2002, the sewer system was to be completed and connected, pending appropriation of funds. The plan was to put a pipe across the channel to the JD Plant. Mr. Powell asked how much that would cost and Mr. Mueller said approximately $3M.
Ms. Muñoz welcomed the new Assemblymembers.
Mr. Etheridge thanked all who helped him along; he said the staff was wonderful and helped to steer him in the right direction.
Ms. Pillifant thanked everyone also.
Mr. Garrett referred to Mr. Barton’s suggestion of a letter from the Assembly to the FAA requesting increased manning of the tower. He requested a letter be drafted for the Mayor’s signature. Mr. Garrett welcomed the new Assemblymembers.
Mr. Powell also welcomed the new Assemblymembers. He then asked for a report on the golf course. Mr. Palmer said the golf course people had a work session with the Planning Commission last week. They were proceeding and agreed to hire someone to help them through the Audubon standards issue. There is an engineering report from R&M, which shows the alignment of the road. The actual designation of the road will depend on the outcome of the Environmental Assessment. Mr. Powell said his recollection was that a lot of preliminary work has been done and that Bayliss had laid out a road that avoided a lot of the wetland problems. He asked if the City was going a different way now. Mr. Palmer said the work that was done identified the wetlands and the road alignment had been designed to use the work they did. Mr. Powell asked to be informed about the next step that would be taken. He has received e-mails from some folks that were frustrated with the slow process they have been going through for the past three years and he wanted to be informed of what was happening.
Mayor Egan said that Juneau was well represented at the Alaska Municipal League Conference in Soldotna. There was a lot of discussion about the tough times that lay ahead and he felt there were some good plans made. Juneau was selected as the site for the year 2000 conference which would bring over 600 people to Juneau for five days.
Mayor Egan asked if there would be any problem allowing free parking in the downtown parking garage from Thanksgiving through New Years. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mayor Egan passed out the 1999 Assembly goals that were set at last year’s retreat. Attached to the goals was the list of CIPs that had been sent to Senator Stevens. He announced that the Assembly retreat was scheduled for November 30th and December 1st. He apologized to those who would not be able to attend and said the meetings would be recorded. The first night would be three hours max, to set goals, talk about the past year’s goals, refine those goals and not limit them to number. The second night he wanted to get into the major goals and formulate a action plan for the three or four goals that the Assembly picks to tackle over the next year. He passed out the list of committees. Mr. Perkins asked if on the second night it would be appropriate to discuss finances. Mayor Egan thought it would be better to discuss that on the first night so everyone would be informed for the second night. Mr. Perkins would work with staff on that.
Mayor Egan asked for a volunteer to be the liaison to the Planning Commission.
MOTION - by Perkins, that Mr. MacKinnon be appointed as the liaison to the Planning Commission. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mr. Perkins referred to the questions and comments about the tourism industry. Mayor Egan said he would like to have that discussion at the retreat and he would like to appoint a committee and discuss the whole global issue. The TAC would report directly to this committee and the committee would provide direction to the TAC.
MOTION - by Perkins, to accept the 1999 - 2000 Committees and Liaisons appointments as presented, including the Deputy Mayor, and he asked unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.
Mayor Egan apologized to Mr. Paul Beran for not being allowed to testify during public testimony. His name appeared on the sign up after the list had been given to the Mayor.
Marian Miller, Clerk