The Bethel City Council met Monday night in executive session for three hours with the attorney they hired to conduct an investigation into nepotism, contracts, and personnel issues.
City Manager Lee Foley was placed on administrative leave two weeks ago as a result of the investigation. His status did not change Monday, but the council came back on the record for a minute to confirm that there indeed has been improper behavior within the city.
Mayor Joe Klekjka made a statement when the council reconvened at 9:30 p.m.
“There were code and policy violations,” said Klejka.
Those were for actions related to procurement, nepotism, credit card usage, personnel policies, leave, and travel and training policies.
Klekja said the council will be taking remedial measures. He explained after adjournment that the Bethel city code is a living document.
“You’re always trying to improve, trying to have the best actions come out of it, and when you find new things to improve it you do those. Additionally, we’re going to need to put some checks and balances in place to make sure the violations that occurred don’t happen in the future,” said Klejka.
Klejka said the city may be looking to hire a human resources director or procurement officer.
The council authorized $40,000 to pay for the investigation. They specifically looked at contracts to demolish the old police station and those with former finance director Bobby Sutton, plus leases at the sandpit, among other personnel issues like intimidation of employees, among other thing.
The city is not releasing the report prepared by the law firm as they are considering it attorney-client privileged communication. Mayor Klejka said that council may be preparing a public document, but he was not certain Monday night.
- About 100 people attended a re-election campaign kick off event in Juneau for Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. Mallott. Walker set aside a few minutes to take our questions.
- Gov. Bill Walker says he wouldn't go through the hassle of calling another special session this year if he didn't expect Alaska legislators to pass the bills on his agenda. But Walker faces an uphill battle in selling skeptical senators on his new tax bill.
- The bow of an abandoned boat could be seen this weekend drifting up and down the Gastineau Channel between Lemon Creek and the Douglas Bridge. A broadcast warning to mariners was issued Saturday, but no further action was being taken as of Sunday afternoon.
- With a surge in vehicle thefts in Anchorage, some residents are taking matters into their own hands. One group mobilizing through Facebook is reuniting stolen vehicles with their owners. Members of the A Team, as they call themselves, say they are filling a void left by overworked police.