Time for borough residents to change form of government

Posted: Monday, May 03, 2004

While attending the April 6 Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting, I witnessed the most arrogant display of disrespect and disdain for our representative form of government by an elected official, since President Nixon was forced to resign after the Watergate scandal. The Peninsula Clarion reported this incident in its April 8 issue, and an audio clip is available at http://www.akvoters.org/editorials.html (click on "Should We Expect More From Our Elected Officials?)

Borough Mayor Dale Bagley repeatedly refused to answer questions from our assembly members during a regular public meeting. Some of these questions were unanswered from previous meetings! Bagley's bad attitude makes me wonder aloud about his ability to continue conducting the people's business.

Alaska statutes clearly state: "The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them; the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know; the people's right to remain informed shall be protected so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created;"

Mayor Bagley's continuing pattern of refusing to answer questions from duly elected representatives of the people (us), defies not only the intent of Alaska statutes, which govern all political subdivisions in the state, but also the sensibility of honest, hard-working borough residents and taxpayers.

It is time for us to consider changing the current form of borough government to a professional administrator. This change has already been made in Soldotna and the Mat-Su Borough. Our borough could retain an elected, but unpaid mayor for ceremonial purposes. A professional administrator would be required to give straight answers to questions posed by our elected borough officials.

If we change to a municipal administrator form of government, the assembly could demand candidates have appropriate education, credentials and practical experience. An administrator could take care of the people's business, while providing the efficiencies in government that our peninsula citizens need and deserve. Furthermore, the assembly could fire an insubordinate administrator that refused to answer their questions.

What I saw at the assembly meeting was clearly unacceptable. The voters and taxpayers of the Kenai Peninsula Borough deserve much better! We can institute a better, more efficient and responsive system of management for the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Now is the time to change the form of borough government, thereby preventing this kind of nonsense from happening in the future!

Mike McBride , North Kenai

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