Manager hiring process to begin Dec. 21

The Haines Borough Assembly has agreed to engage the services of consultant Lenise Henderson-Fontenot, who assisted with the school district’s search for a new superintendent, to help the borough find a new manager. Henderson-Fontenot is offering her services on a pro bono basis in the wake of the recent landslide.

“The feedback that we’ve had from everybody who was involved in the school hiring project was nothing but praise for Lenise and how she conducted the business of helping. She was an assistant really, keeping people on focus and making them stick to the issues and making sure things matched,” Personnel Committee chair Paul Rogers said at Tuesday’s assembly meeting.

In a memo to the assembly, Henderson-Fontenot listed tentative steps in the hiring process including: interview procedure review, advertisement development, creating a scoring matrix for applications, accepting and reviewing applications, identifying candidates to interview, creating interview questions and conducting interviews, conducting a second round of interviews, and meeting with finalists in person before reaching a decision.

The assembly will meet as a committee of the whole with Henderson-Fontenot on Dec. 21 to begin the process. According to Mayor Douglas Olerud, Henderson-Fontenot has said one of the first things the assembly needs to do is reword the advertisement used for past manager searches so that it better reflects the job description the assembly refined earlier this year.

Assembly approves mayor’s board appointments

The assembly unanimously approved Mayor Douglas Olerud’s appointments to borough boards and commissions at Tuesday’s meeting.

Olerud said the appointments would normally have been automatically approved as part of the assembly’s consent agenda, but he felt it was important to explain why he hadn’t followed the Planning Commission’s recommendation to appoint Scott Hansen to the one of the open seats.

Hansen and Don Turner Jr. initially tied in a vote by the Planning Commission on who to recommend for the third vacant seat. After a re-vote, Hansen won.

“There were some concerns raised that since Mr. Hansen works for the borough (as part of the assessment crew) in the lands department there was potential conflict of interest with him being on the planning commission,” Olerud said. He said he consulted with interim manager Alekka Fullerton and Planning Commission chair Diana Lapham before deciding to appoint Turner instead of Hansen.

Fullerton added that Hansen will have an even larger role in the lands department than previously anticipated since planning and zoning tech Libby Jacobson has announced plans to move to Montana.

Other appointments approved by the assembly include Jessica Kayser Forster and Zach Ferrin to the Planning Commission; JoAnn Ross Cunningham, James Alborough, Katie Bard and Lucinda Boyce to the library board of trustees; Kelleen Adams to the museum board of trustees; and Tresham Gregg and Lorrie Dudzik to the Chilkat Center advisory board.

No action taken on bear proof dumpster request

The assembly took no action on requests for assistance from Community Waste Solutions (CWS) and Upper Lynn Canal Fish and Game Advisory Committee (AC).

“What I am asking the Borough, specifically, is if you would consider fronting us the cost of ten additional (bear proof) dumpsters, for a total order of twenty new units, on a no, or low-interest loan payable back to the borough at $ 1,000 per month for sixteen months,” CWS general manager Craig Franke wrote in a letter to the assembly. He said the dumpsters are part of CWS’s efforts to secure trash in the community to help address the bear problem.

None of the assembly members made a motion to approve the CWS request.

In an effort to take action on the proposal from the AC, assembly member Carol Tuynman made a motion that the assembly request GPS flight log data from local heliski operators. Tuynman said she thinks it’s important to continue stakeholder discussions about heliski operations in relation to mountain goat habitat.

Assembly member Jerry Lapp said the AC should ask operators directly for the flight data, rather than going through the borough as an intermediary.

The motion failed 5-1 with Tuynman the sole “yes” vote.

Assembly finalizes CARES Act spending plan

Between $250,000 and $280,000 unspent CARES Act funds from the original $4 million the borough received earlier this year will be used to pay emergency worker wages in an effort to free up borough funds for COVID-19 use in the new year.

The parameters of the CARES Act require funds be used for COVID-19 expenses incurred before the end of 2020. There are no such restrictions on use of borough funds.

“There are going to be COVID expenses extending into 2021 that we don’t currently have a source of funding for,” Olerud said. “Our plan is to spend (remaining CARES Act funds) on borough staff expenses for emergency personnel and then do a withdrawal from those accounts back into the COVID account.”

The assembly unanimously approved this measure. It also earmarked $3,000 from the CARES Act to fully fund the “Shop Local and Save” program, $20,000 for a chest-compression device to allow the fire department to perform CPR with less person-to-person contact and $10,000 to cover credit card fees the borough incurred when it waived the fees for residents paying remotely due to pandemic concerns.