Last week, a Kodiak Island Borough Assemblyman published, at his own expense, a page-and-a-half long screed in the Kodiak Daily Mirror decrying his colleagues’ selection of a new borough manager. The contract with Michael Powers of Fresno, California, is on the agenda for approval Thursday.
But Assemblyman Mel Stephens is highly unlikely to be voting yes. He wrote and paid for the ad in the Mirror, detailing a past legal issue Powers faced a King City, California, when he was manager there. Stephens declined comment to KMXT, referring a reporter instead back to the information in his ad.
Powers was investigated and cleared of using city hall telephones for eavesdropping on city employees in the wake of a scandal in the police department that saw a third of the King City force indicted for corruption.
Stephens brought up the issues in his ad during the borough manager interview process on March 15th, which Powers said he welcomed.
“Oh it’s basically a recap of the news articles what occurred in King City,” Powers said. “You know, those were questions that came up during the interview that were asked and answered. And it’s kind of interesting that he’s continuing down this path.”
The vote to enter into negotiations with Powers passed the assembly four to three, with assemblymembers Dennis Symmons and Rebecca Skinner joining Stephens in dissenting. Powers said he was fine with the vote not being unanimous.
“But I think that it’s kind of a shame that once a vote is taken by the assembly then not all the assembly members don’t go along with the vote. I was always taught, and I think most councils and assemblies work this way, that when you’re on the losing side of the vote, you just suck up the fact that you lost and go on,” he said. “And apparently that’s not completely the case here.”
Powers said that he left King City in December on good terms, but delayed packing for Kodiak even after a contract was successfully negotiated.
“And to be real honest, that’s kind of unusual,” Powers said. “‘Cause normally once the negotiators come to terms, it’s like your word, your handshake is your word and your bond. Normally once you have that, at least from a city manager perspective you start, or from a manager perspective, you start diving in to get moved and stuff, but in this case, I had to stop and wait because of all this fun.”
Powers’ three-year contract will start at $120,000 per anum, and assuming positive annual reviews, increases by $10,000 yearly. A vote on the contract is scheduled for Thursday night’s Kodiak Island Borough Assembly meeting.