Fairbanks assembly keeps Solie as presiding officer

Posted: Friday, September 05, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblyman Rick Solie will continue to preside over assembly meetings while he fights charges of driving under the influence.

The assembly on a 1-9 vote Thursday rejected a motion by Assemblyman Tim Beck calling for Solie to give up his position as the governing body's top official.

The special meeting had been called to discuss whether Solie should step down as presiding officer, a position he's held since November.

Beck said he organized the meeting because he did not want Solie's legal situation to interfere with the assembly's task of governing.

About 20 people testified, many of whom said they were Solie's friends. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported that testimony was overwhelming in support of Solie continuing his position.

Many who spoke said he has entered a plea of not guilty to the charge, so he should be considered innocent until proven otherwise.

University of Alaska Fairbanks police arrested Solie, 43, on charges of DUI, refusal to submit to a breath test and driving on the wrong side of the road. Solie was spotted traveling through campus and recorded a .214 breath-alcohol level on a preliminary breath test instrument, according to charging documents.

Solie is finishing his second three-year term on the borough. His term ends after municipal elections in October and by ordinance he cannot run for a third consecutive term.

Borough Clerk Mona Lisa Drexler said it takes at least four assembly members or the presiding officer to call a special meeting. Besides Beck, the other assembly members who called the meeting were Eileen Cummings, Hank Bartos, Earl Romans and Torie Foote.

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