Mayor Charlie Pierce speaks at a Kenai Peninsula Borough meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Mayor Charlie Pierce speaks at a Kenai Peninsula Borough meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2018. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Borough enacts new whistleblower protection policy

Policy protects borough employees to report matters of public concern without fear of retribution

Local provisions for the protection of whistleblowers were passed at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting. Prior borough code did not have a policy to protect whistleblowers, or people who expose potentially illegal or unethical information within an organization.

Alaska law provides protections for whistleblowers but allows municipalities to create their own whistleblower policies.

The new policy protects borough employees and management to report matters of public concern without fear of retribution. Borough-specific whistleblower protections help to ensure the borough is held to the highest standard in transparency and ethical behavior, according to the ordinance, which was introduced by assembly members Kelly Cooper and Hal Smalley.

“It was found that the borough doesn’t have a whistleblower policy and with the current political climate locally and nationally, we thought it was important that the borough is held to the highest standards,” assembly member Brent Hibbert said at Tuesday’s meeting.

During assembly discussion, Cooper clarified the ordinance was not a result of the #MeToo movement, which is an international movement against sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“I just think it’s important that our code reflect appropriately and our state statute does actually reference municipalities on how they can bring (whistleblower policies) into their code and I think it’s important we bring it to our level,” Cooper said.

Assembly member Norm Blakeley moved to table the ordinance until current litigation against the borough ceased. Blakeley did not specify which lawsuit he was referring to, however, the borough and Mayor Charlie Pierce were recently sued by the borough’s former human resources director, Sandra Brown, who alleged she experienced disability discrimination.

“I would think under the present situation with the litigation — if we could postpone this and maybe even turn some of it over to our state representatives and get the state to do this…” Blakeley said.

The policy will be added to the borough code, but it will not be a part of required training for employees, Cooper said.

More in News

David Brighton (left) and Leslie Byrd (right) prepare to lead marchers from the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex to Soldotna Creek Park as part of Soldotna Pride in the Park on Saturday, June 3, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna celebrates LGBTQ+ pride

The event featured food trucks, vendors and a lineup of performers that included comedy, drag and music

Judges Peter Micciche, Terry Eubank and Tyler Best sample a salmon dish prepared by chef Stephen Lamm of the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank at Return of the Reds on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at the Kenai City Dock in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai celebrates ‘Return of the Reds’ in food bank fundraiser

Chefs competed for best salmon recipe; fresh-caught fish auctioned

A freshly stocked rainbow trout swims in Johnson Lake during Salmon Celebration on Wednesday, May 10, 2023, at Johnson Lake in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Excellent lake fishing, good halibut and slow salmon

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 1

Map via Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Assembly to consider emergency service area for Cooper Landing

Borough legislation creating the service area is subject to voter approval

Peter Micciche (center) listens to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly certify the results of the Feb. 14, 2023, special mayoral election, through which he was elected mayor of the Kenai Peninsula Borough, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Thousands respond to borough services survey

Many of the survey questions focused on the quality of borough roads

Two new cars purchased by the Soldotna Senior Center to support its Meals on Wheels program are parked outside of the center in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.(Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Soldotna budget defunds area senior center

The unanimous vote came after multiple people expressed concerns about how the center operates

An Epidemiology Bulletin titled “Drowning Deaths in Alaska, 2016-2021” published Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (Screenshot)
Health officials say Alaska leads nation in drowning deaths, urge safe practices

A majority of non-occupational Alaska drownings occur in relation to boating, both for recreation and for subsistence

Chief J.J. Hendrickson plays with Torch the cat at the Kenai Animal Shelter on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna, Kenai to extend animal control partnership

So far this year, the Kenai shelter has served roughly 190 animals

Transportation professionals tour the Sterling Highway and Birch Avenue intersection in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, May 22, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna brainstorming pop-up pedestrian safety project

The temporary project aims to boost pedestrian safety near Soldotna Creek Park

Most Read