The community voted overwhelmingly for change when they elected three new assembly members and the mayor in 2023. Transparency was promised and the assembly began delving into details of issues to keep the public informed. This assembly intended to drive the bus. However, the failure of the manager to provide them critical information has hamstrung them, causing the need for additional meetings to address problems, preventing them from acting in a timely manner, essentially making them bystanders.

At most meetings, the assembly learned that some action had taken place without their knowledge or direction. In November, Turnagain informed the manager they’d bought $9.3 million of steel, in clear violation of the RAISE grant. However, the assembly was not provided that crucial information until a month later. At a 12/22/23 special meeting concerning this violation, Turnagain’s Jason Davis said if the assembly just got out of the way, the project would go forward without problems.

Last night Turnagain’s “environmental lead” said a third alternative design was added in December for NEPA evaluation. That was news to the assembly. Who chose the design on our behalf? Why was our assembly not involved in the decision? Although U.S. Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg’s chief of staff and DOT/MARAD associates said they would be very interested in design alternatives approved by the new assembly, it appears the dock project is being run by the manager and contractors out of sight of the assembly.
The assembly must be given control of the wheel.

Katey Palmer