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

Assembly seat open; deadline set May 15


A vacant seat is up for grabs on the Haines Borough Assembly, following the resignation of member Mike Case at the group’s April 25 meeting.

Case disagreed with the assembly’s decision to hire borough manager candidate Debra Schnabel.

Case’s resignation was official May 1 and the vacancy must be filled within 30 days of that date.

The borough is taking applications from interested individuals until May 15. The assembly will review applicants and make an appointment during its May 30 meeting.

The person appointed will have to run for election in October.

Andrew Gray, 29, started a Facebook page to let the community know he’s interested in filling the seat. Gray’s lived in town for a year and he works as a civil engineer for proHNS.

Gray said he was going to run in October and when he heard Case resigned he figured he ought to apply.

“When I heard Mike Case dropped the mic and resigned I figured I might as well jump in now and that might be the best solution for me and the voters so they can test-drive me for six months,” Gray said. “If they don’t like me or my positions they can boot me.”

Gray said he wants to help see stability within the borough government and “détente the bitter and divisive infighting.”

He said he’s pro economic development and is supportive of the Haines Economic Development Corporation, and he thinks the borough should give the group $95,000. Gray said the fund balance in the economic development fund should go towards the economic development corporation.

In terms of the local police budget, he supports hiring a fifth police officer and establishing emergency police response outside the townsite.

Gray said he would vote and behave in meetings similar to Case.

“I would follow his lead,” Gray said. “He only says what’s needed to be said, then shuts his mouth and votes. I would avoid the tirades and the public soap-boxing that make it feel so crazy and so ‘anything-can-happen’ at these meetings.”

Haines Borough clerk Julie Cozzi said she would not release the names of other applicants for the seat previous to the May 15 deadline.

“It has always been my policy, because I don’t want anyone to decide not to apply based on a news report that someone else has put in for it,” Cozzi wrote after the CVN requested the names of applicants.

Three recall petitions are currently circulating for assembly members Heather Lende, Tresham Gregg and Tom Morphet.

If the recall effort moves forward and is successful, assembly seats vacated by the recall also would be filled by appointment before the October election.

Case’s seat was set to expire in October. Assembly member Ron Jackson’s seat also expires in October. Jackson has said he won’t seek another term.


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