Kodiak Island Borough Assembly mulling changes to pandemic-era emergency order

At a recent meeting, Kodiak Island Borough Assembly members discussed rolling back the emergency orders that were passed in the early stages of the pandemic – like the formation of Kodiak’s Emergency Services Council.

That should have included a sunset provision, according to Assembly member Scott Arndt.

“And as you can see, we’ve gone on for two years, so, and we’ve heard from the public, and the idea is to get this off the books,” said Arndt.

But the ordinance in front of Thursday’s Assembly would have rescinded the group’s ability to meet virtually. Assembly member Scott Smiley supported that measure. 

“I think it’s really crucially important for Assembly members to meet face to face because it takes a lot to understand the full force of arguments people make,” said Smiley.

Others argued that virtual meetings are not mandatory, and that rescinding the ability to meet virtually would mean the Assembly wouldn’t be able to do so if there was a future emergency. Assembly member Joe Delgado said most of the input the Borough has received hasn’t been about virtual meetings.

“When in fact the concern is really the declaration of an emergency. So, maybe we do have to delve into this a little bit deeper,” Delgado said.

The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly ultimately voted unanimously to postpone a decision on any changes to its emergency order until its next public meeting on May 19. The discussion will continue, however, at the Assembly’s next work session on Thurs., May 12.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story attributed the last quote to James Turner. It has since been corrected to identify Assembly member Joe Delgado as the speaker.

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