City attorney John Hartle received a standing ovation in assembly chambers last night for his 20 years of service to the city of Juneau. CBJ assembly presented Hartle an Award of Appreciation.
Mayor Merrill Sanford recounted Hartle’s early career, “John worked for the Alaska State Legislature as a legislative aide to Senator Vic Fischer and Representative Brian Rogers in 1979 and 1984. He also was chief of staff to Representative John Sund from 1985-1988, so he has particular skill sets on handling the legislative people on the hill, for sure.”
Before starting his 20-year career in the law department for CBJ, Hartle also worked for the Civil Liberties Union in Boston, served as a legal intern to Alaska Supreme Court Justice Warren Matthews, and law clerked for Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks in Juneau.
Assembly member Jesse Kiehl gave a heartfelt thanks to Hartle for his many years of hard work.
“The best lawyers are good thinkers in addition to good writers and every time I have crossed paths with John Hartle doing work for Juneau, he just is a remarkable thinker and it has paid dividends for our community so I can’t say enough to thank him for those years,” Kiehl said.
Hartle has held his current position of city attorney for ten years and this is his final week on the job.
CBJ is in the process of hiring Hartle’s replacement. The full assembly will interview four candidates. Karen Jennings is the administrative hearing officer for the Mat-Su Borough, Debra O’Gara is an Alaska Court System mediator and Planning and Development Director for SEARHC, Amy Mead is CBJ’s assistant city attorney, and Jane Sebens is CBJ’s deputy attorney.
One-hour interviews will be conducted with each candidate this Friday starting at 8:30 am.
Until the vacancy is filled with a permanent city attorney, the assembly appointed deputy city attorney Sebens to serve as acting city attorney.
In other assembly news, the body heard from JDHS ninth grader Sarah Mertz, a swimmer with Glacier Swim Club. Mertz spoke about the future early closures on Mondays at Dimond pool, a decision she heard was made due to budget cuts by the assembly.
“We were told that Dimond Park Aquatic Center on Mondays would not affect kids when it would be closing early and I want to say that’s not true. Closing the facility on Mondays will cut down every swimmers’ opportunity to take part in a sport they love,” Mertz said.
Mertz said the early Monday closure would cut practice time for swimmers impacting the performance of over 500 kids in Glacier Swim Club. During the school year, the pool at Dimond Park Aquatic Center is normally open Monday through Friday from 6 am to 8 pm, with additional weekend hours.
The Club also sent a letter to the assembly with signatures from around 60 students in grades K through 12. Several members of the club wearing GSC t-shirts were present during the assembly meeting.
According to city and borough manager Kimberley Kiefer, the parks and rec director will be negotiating with the Glacier Swim Club and the aquatics director on changes to the pool schedule. Kiefer says the pool would actually only be impacted by 2.5 hours on Monday.
Regarding the in-school swim program, Kiefer says the school district can adjust the morning hours, but not the afternoon hours. There are also plans, she says, to use Augustus Brown Pool to make up some lost swim time.
Currently, the Dimond pool has modified summer hours.
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