Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Fuel distributor chairs dock group


Haines Borough Manager David Sosa has appointed Fred Gray as the chair of the Lutak Dock “core group,” an advisory group tasked with guiding what to do with the deteriorating structure.

Gray is fuel distributor Delta Western’s facility manager for Haines. One of the two main private customers of the borough-owned dock, the company pays the municipality tariffs for unloading its fuel there.

Sosa said he doesn’t think Gray has a conflict of interest chairing the committee, even though Gray’s company has a vested interest in maintaining low fees.

“There is an emphasis on ensuring that as many views as possible are represented by the group charged with giving advice to the manager. I feel that I have done a fair job of listening to the various sides of any issue and giving appropriate weight to observations before making decisions,” Sosa said.

“I asked Mr. Gray to chair this group, but I intend to continue getting good advice from everyone before making decisions or recommendations,” he added.

Assembly member Ron Jackson, though he acknowledged Gray has “an obvious financial interest” in what happens to the dock, said he doesn’t see a problem with Gray chairing the committee, as the chair doesn’t have any more political power than other members.

“The chair basically keeps people on track with time and subject and staying on topic. As far as having extra points in a vote or something like that, I don’t see that happening,” Jackson said.

Core group member Debra Schnabel also said she didn’t have a problem with Sosa’s appointment of Gray, and that Gray’s participation in the group to date has been impartial and on behalf of the entire group.

“When I asked him point-blank the other day whether he was going to make a comment on the $100,000 appropriation (that Sosa is seeking), he said, ‘No, I have not been directed to do so by the committee,’” Schnabel said.


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