A sign directs voters at Soldotna City Hall during the special Field House election on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

A sign directs voters at Soldotna City Hall during the special Field House election on March 5, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Assembly to consider changing service board elections to appointments

The borough has 12 service boards, of which seven boards include elected positions.

An ordinance changing service board elections to appointments will be introduced at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The borough has 12 service boards, of which seven boards include elected positions. Historically, it has been difficult to find qualified candidates willing to run for service board seats, an Aug. 22 memo to the assembly from assembly members Willy Dunne and Brent Hibbert said.

“The borough is one of the few boroughs, if not the only, in the State of Alaska with elected service area boards,” the memo said.

Earlier this summer, the Election Stakeholders Group — a group established by the assembly to research ways to increase voter participation — published their final report and recommendations. One of their six specific recommendations asks the borough to appoint service board members, rather than hold elections.

“Appointed boards have proven to increase public interest in service on a board as potential board members would not have to run or otherwise comply with the election process requirements,” the memo said.

The memo said the change would significantly reduce time and expense involved with borough elections, and that the clerk’s office has indicated thousands of dollars could be saved by eliminating the seats from the election process, the memo said. Cost savings would come from a reduction in printing costs and the time required of election officials and the clerk’s office when it comes to reviewing ballots, the memo said.

The ordinance for introduction said the appointment process will remain a public process, where openings will be advertised. The mayor will appoint interested applicants and the assembly confirms the appointment.

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