Former police chief Greg Goodman responded to questions for about 10 minutes during an Oct. 15 interview at the Haines Borough Public Library as part of a public process to determine whether he is eligible for a seat on the Haines Borough assembly.

Jila Stuart, acting manager, handled the interview while borough manager Mark Earnest was out of town.

Voters earlier this month selected Goodman for assembly seat “E,” but write-in candidate Karen Hess has since challenged that Goodman does not meet the residency requirements for a three-year term.

The assembly on Oct. 12 certified election results, except seat “E,” and directed the borough manager and clerk to conduct an investigation into Goodman’s eligibility, with a report to be shared at Tuesday’s assembly meeting.

“It’s my understanding that that would not result in a recommendation to the assembly,” Earnest said. “It would just present the information that was discovered, without any recommendation. It would just be that information, and then, at that point, the assembly would make its determination based on that information.”

The borough charter says a candidate must be a resident “for at least one year immediately preceding the election.”

According to “qualifications for nominations,” a candidate is eligible if he or she “has resided continuously within the borough for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the election.”

Goodman has referred to a section of code for “qualifications of assembly members” that states a candidate may serve “if the individual continues to maintain the individual’s principal place of residence” in the Haines Borough “and has done so for at least one year” before filing for the election.

Goodman testified that he was renting in Anchorage and that he moved back to town permanently in July. He said he’d made three trips to Haines between October 2009 and June.

Goodman acknowledged he gave up his Haines post office box and changed his voter registration to Anchorage, but that he didn’t think he voted there. He said he changed registrations for a boat, plane and two cars his family owns to Anchorage, but left a truck that remained in Haines under local registration.

Asked whether he planned to leave Haines permanently when he gave up the police chief job here to take work as flight engineer for an Anchorage freight company, Goodman responded, “We never intended to be gone permanently. We always intended to come back.”

He also acknowledged he used an Anchorage address when applying for his 2010 Permanent Fund Dividend.

Goodman said: “We’ve always considered Haines our home, and we always planned to come back. This was just a short-term thing. This was to satisfy an itch that I had, something that I’ve always wanted to do. It was never our intention to permanently relocate. We put up our property for sale at one point, because we felt too scattered. We had a boat in Big Lake, an airplane in Fairbanks, two homes in Haines – a home and a cabin. We just felt like we were stretched too far, and we wanted to downsize a little bit.”

“We also had a house-sitter, not a renter. We never rented our place. We never had a garage sale or a moving sale or any of that. All of our personal belongings remained here, in Haines. We paid all of the expenses for the house – water, sewer, electric, fuel – and just had a house-sitter staying there, and he knew that we were coming back.”