The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Rocking the Boat


The following is from the editorial page of the March 13, 1975 Seward Phoenix LOG.

Some observations on the recent decision by Judge Hanson regarding teacher-school board negotiations: Hanson ruled that the borough assembly was to bargain along with the KPEA and the school board. Although it would take the ruling of a higher court, it would seem that the assembly should not be included in these negotiations – as that body is not supposed to have line-item control over the budget. Teacher salaries, etc., are part of the school budget.

Another point that comes to mind is that Assemblyman Pat O’Connell voted against the assembly participating in negotiations. Since O’Connell is a teacher in the Kenai High School it would seem he should not have been allowed to vote on the issue – as it would certainly be considered a conflict of interest. I am surprised the borough attorney did not call O’Connell on this. He had a perfect right to express his opinion but should have refrained from voting.

Still another point – despite the fact that apparently these negotiating sessions are always held in a closed manner, it would seem that they should not be. If a private firm negotiates in private, while it may eventually determine the cost the consumer may pay – in the case of public entities I do not believe the public should be excluded. After all – that is our money being bantered around. We have a right to get the proceedings “first hand,” not simply “reports made by mutual agreement” of the parties to the negotiation.

On this one I have to agree with Mayor Thompson, as rare as that might be! I hope he sticks to his guns and insists the borough will not be a party to closed sessions.


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