Assembly and Council Jointly Sign Trawl Bycatch Management Letter

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

A letter the Kodiak City Council recently approved to provide input on the Environmental Impact Statement for Gulf of Alaska trawl bycatch management has also gained the stamp of approval from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly.

At a special meeting last Thursday night, fisheries analyst Heather McCarty helped explain the document, which addresses concerns about overconsolidation and regionalization and suggests an idea for a community cooperative.

“All of this right now is just for analysis,” said McCarty. “The council process is so lengthy and they go through several iterations of analysis of every one of these elements of the potential program and what this letter is suggesting is just that these elements are considered for analysis.”

The assembly agreed to sign the letter jointly with the council.

At the work session following the meeting, the assembly also reviewed the standard evaluation procedures for the positions of borough manager and clerk and discussed updating the job descriptions for both. Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner pointed out why that is a necessary step.

“One of the problems we saw is that what the manager and the clerk actually do is not fully captured in the job descriptions, so in some cases, they do more stuff that is not in the job description. In other cases, there’s things in the job description that everyone acknowledges they don’t actually do. And I almost have a bigger problem with that, because those are the things that fall through the cracks.”

The assembly decided that a smaller group of assemblymembers would review the evaluation criteria in the near future. The assembly also discussed the borough manager’s hiring authority and manager Bud Cassidy asked for the power to grant a higher salary than currently allowed.

“You’ve seen that we’ve not been able to hire anyone at a step C,” said Cassidy. “We’re dealing with a potential fire chief who is maybe even off the scale, so we know it’s not working. It’s a broken system being able to just hire to a step C. I will tell you to this day and age of just hiring employees, we’re not getting many applicants, and the ones that we are getting are not – and will not – accept a job at a C.”

Assemblyman Dan Rohrer suggested comparing the borough’s situation to other governing bodies.

“I guess my big question would be, is it a Kodiak issue, or is the city and the school district –  are they being able to find key positions and get them filled? Because they have some of those same – especially the city – have some very specially oriented jobs with their waste-water treatment plant and their water plant and things of that nature. I would be curious to see if they struggle with those same problems.”

The assembly decided the topic deserves further discussion. Its next regular meeting is scheduled for September 3 and its next work session for September 10.

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