Assembly advances pay, election ordinances
The Haines Borough Assembly on Tuesday advanced to a second public hearing ordinances regarding borough election procedures and assembly pay increases.
When the election ordinance was introduced Oct. 26, assembly members discussed candidate eligibility and write-in campaigns.
According to revisions suggested by the clerk’s office, "Write-in votes are not invalidated by misspelling the name of the candidate if the election officials determine that the intent of the voter is clear."
The ordinance also has a requirement that candidates "must have been a resident of the borough for a continuous period of not less than one year immediately preceding the date of the election."
Write-in candidate Karen Hess has challenged that Greg Goodman does not meet assembly residency requirements. Goodman defeated Hess in the October election, but Hess has since appealed to Superior Court.
Borough clerk Julie Cozzi said the ordinance is targeted to make an earlier ruling of candidate eligibility, instead of relying on a contest after the election.
"The clerk shall determine whether each candidate for borough office is qualified as provided by law," the ordinance states. "At any time before the election, the clerk may disqualify any candidate whom the clerk finds is not qualified."
A complaint over candidate eligibility must be in writing and "received by the clerk no later than 5 p.m. on the third borough business day after the last day for the filing of a nomination petition."
The clerk then will review evidence and "send notice of final determination in writing to the person making the complaint, if applicable, and to the candidate."
"The candidate or person making the complaint may file a written protest with the clerk within five business days following the date of notice of the clerk’s final determination," the ordinance states. "The clerk shall present the protest at the next regular meeting of the assembly."
According to the ordinance, when the assembly decides the protest, the "burden of proof shall be on the complainant" and the "assembly’s decision shall be made at that meeting and shall be final."
Also on Tuesday, the assembly moved forward an ordinance that would increase pay for assembly members and Mayor Jan Hill.
The assembly would earn $125 per meeting, up from $100, and Hill’s monthly salary would increase $250, to $1,250. The ordinance includes $50 for each of the assembly’s budget committee-of-the whole meetings.
Goodman and Scott Rossman voted against the ordinance.
The assembly on Oct. 26 had unanimously approved a resolution to pay members of the Haines Borough Planning Commission $50 per meeting attended. Commission members previously had not been compensated.
The next regular assembly meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 30.