Assembly compensation talks continue

  • By KAYLEE OSOWSKI
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 11:23pm
  • News

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly continued to debate assembly member compensation at its meeting in Seward.

An ordinance to adjust compensation was up for public hearing after being postponed at the April 1 meeting. While the assembly failed ordinance 2014-11 on Tuesday, it could discuss the subject again. Assembly member Brent Johnson gave notice of reconsideration, so the assembly might vote on the issue at its next meeting.

The original ordinance sponsored by Johnson sought to cut compensation to assembly members. The assembly voted to amend Johnson’s ordinance with a substitute ordinance sponsored by assembly member Bill Smith, which looks to increase compensation to account for inflation rates. The assembly postponed the vote to adopt the ordinance until Tuesday’s meeting to allow time for additional public comment.

The assembly last adjusted compensation rates in 2000. Assembly members’ benefits currently includes:

— A monthly allowance of $400 for members and $500 for the president;

— Mileage based on the current Internal Revenue Service rate;

— A vehicle allowance of $150 or $250 for members representing the south peninsula, east peninsula and Homer;

— Internet allowance at $25 per month;

— Portable computer devices and;

— Health and life insurance at the same level as borough department heads.

Members may choose to not receive any of the allowances and benefits.

Smith’s substitute looked to increase the monthly allowance for members to $560 and the president’s allowance to $700.

Johnson moved to amend the ordinance by changing the health and life insurance benefits to be at the same level as half-time borough employees instead of department heads.

“I want to fight it somehow and this is my little way of trying to do that,” he said.

Johnson said it is wrong for the borough to be paying $18,600 annually for his insurance.

“The voters wanted to reduce the borough government when they voted to raise the property tax exemption,” Johnson said. “So in light of that, I’m looking for a way to do what the voters want to do.”

Smith said in general he thinks voters always want to reduce the cost of government, but he thinks the vote on property tax exemption levels was just to reduce how much individuals paid out of pocket.

The amendment failed with assembly members Charlie Pierce and Johnson casting the only votes in favor of the change.

Johnson made a second motion to amend the ordinance by removing the Internet allowance in its entirety.

The amendment passed with assembly members Wayne Ogle, Kelly Wolf, Smith, Johnson and Pierce voting in favor.

“I thank you for dropping off the Internet access fee,” Johnson said. “That is a step in the right direction.”

The vote to adopt the ordinance, which would take effect on Oct. 15, 2016 and not affect currently seated members, failed.

Assembly members Dale Bagley, Ogle, Pierce, Wolf and Johnson voted against the ordinance as amended with the deletion of the $25 Internet allowance.

During assembly comments at the end of the meeting, Johnson gave notice of wanting to reconsider the vote on ordinance 2014-11.

“The reason I want to do that is because my $25 cut is on the line there,” Johnson said.

To bring the vote back before the body, at the next assembly meeting at 6 p.m. on May 6 in Soldotna a motion for reconsideration will have to be made and then the assembly will have to vote whether or not to reconsider the item. Depending on the outcome of that vote the assembly may vote again on the ordinance.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Spruce trees are photographed in Seldovia, Alaska, on Sept. 26, 2021. (Clarion file)
Arbor Day grant application period opens

The program provides chosen applicants with up to $400 to buy and ship trees to their schools.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Ark., leave the chamber after a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, early Wednesday, May 10, 2017. A magistrate ruled Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, that there is probable cause for a case to continue against a man accused of threatening to kill Alaska’s two U.S. senators in profanity-filled voicemails left on their office phones. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Grand jury will get case of man threatening to kill senators

He is accused of making threats against U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
Virus death toll soars

The state reported 66 more COVID deaths Tuesday, some recent and some as far back as April.

Kelly Tshibaka addresses members of the community at Nikiski Hardware & Supply on Friday, April 9, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Peninsula campaign cash going to Tshibaka

Tshibaka raised about $1.2 million between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30.

Associated Press
The Statement of Facts to support the complaint and arrest warrant for Christian Manley say that Manley, the Alabama man accused of using pepper spray and throwing a metal rod at law enforcement protecting the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection, has been arrested in Alaska.
Authorities arrest Alabama man in Alaska after Jan. 6 riot

The FBI took Christian Manley into custody Friday in Anchorage.

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
Gates indicate the entrance of Soldotna Community Memorial Park on Tuesday in Soldotna.
Soldotna’s cemetery expanding

The expansion is expected to add 20 years worth of capacity to the existing cemetery.

In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, speaks during a ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House is appearing in a new round of ads urging Alaskans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Ads featuring Young are being paid for by the Conquer COVID Coalition, Young spokesperson Zack Brown said by email Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Young urges vaccination in new ads

Young, 88, “believes the vaccines are safe, effective and can help save lives.”

A portable sign on the Sterling Highway advertises a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinaton booster clinic held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
What you need to know about boosters

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility explained

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Most Read