“One of the hallmarks of the American system,” Mayor Bruce Botelho said, “is the peaceful and orderly transition of government.”
It was the last meeting for Peter Freer, Malcolm Menzies, and Deputy Mayor Merrill Sanford. Freer and Menzies each served a few months, having been appointed to fill seats left vacant when Bob Doll moved to Washington State and Jonathon Anderson took a new job in California.
Sanford has served three consecutive three-year terms – the limit for Assembly members.
Jesse Kiehl, Carlton Smith and Randy Wanamaker were sworn in to replace the outgoing members.
Freer, who served on the Assembly 28 years ago, thanked the panel for appointing him.
“When I took the seat here in July of this year, after many years of not being on the Assembly, it felt as though I never left,” Freer said. “I felt very comfortable in the chair and in doing the work of the community. “
Menzies said he enjoyed the few months he was on the Assembly.
“I very much thank you for selecting me – not electing – but selecting me to fill another’s term,” he said.
After nine years on the Assembly, Sanford had a lot to say to his colleagues, which was a bit out of character for him.
“You know I’m a man of few words, but my wife typed up a few things for me,” he said, to the laughter of the panel.
Sanford proceeded to talk for ten minutes. He gave members three recommendations: Don’t lock up city lands from development, be prepared to vote against some of your friends and neighbors, and work as a team.
He said serving on the Assembly has been a humbling experience.
“When I first started my little saying was ‘a lifetime of commitment.’ You know that was just a little slogan picked out of the air by four or five of us,” Sanford said. “And I guess when I look back on my career as a Marine, as a builder of the Trans-Alaska pipeline, as a fireperson for 30 years, on the Planning Commission for four years, on the Assembly for nine years, I can say now that I truly have had a lifetime of commitment to our city.”
City Attorney John Hartle administered the oath of office to Kiehl, Smith and Wanamaker. Then the panel elected David Stone as deputy mayor.
The Assembly accepted Mayor Botelho’s recommendations for committees.
Karen Crane takes over for Stone as chairman of the Finance Committee, while Stone becomes chairman of the Committee of the Whole. The entire Assembly sits as a Finance Committee and COW.
Wanamaker is chairman of the Public Works and Facilities Committee, Mary Becker retains Lands, and Ruth Danner will continue as Human Resources chair.
- Heli-skiing has long been a controversial topic in Haines. The interests of the industry often clash with people who live near heliports and don’t want the noise disturbing their peace and quiet. But there’s another group that’s impacted by helicopter noise: mountain goats.
- In the Northwest Arctic, caribou hunting has been contentious for years. Alaska’s largest herd continues to decline while tensions have emerged between rural subsistence users and outside hunters.
- From the Aleutian island of Akutan to the arctic village of Kiana, 13 communities have been crowned champions of a rural energy competition. The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it will help these communities cut their energy use by 15 percent by training local utility providers.
- It’s costing 14 percent more to take the ferry to and from the Lower 48. The higher fare is part of another round of tariff increases aimed at boosting income and equalizing rates across all routes.