Kenai asks Board of Fish to rescind meeting decision

In January the board decided to move the regulatory meeting from the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage.

Kenai City Council has joined the chorus of peninsula voices asking the Alaska Board of Fisheries to rescind their decision to move the Upper Cook Inlet 2020 Finfish meeting.

At Wednesday night’s council meeting, the council passed a resolution encouraging the Board of Fisheries to rescind their decision due to a lack of reasonable public notice.

In January, in an unexpected vote, the board decided to move the regulatory meeting from the Kenai Peninsula to Anchorage. The meeting was originally going to be held in Anchorage, but a March 2018 vote moved the meeting to the Kenai-Soldotna area.

The Kenai City Council joins the city of Soldotna, the Kenai Peninsula Delegation to the Alaska State Legislature, Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander, Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen and Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce in requesting the board revisit their decision.

The resolution states that prior to the Jan. 18 Arctic-Yukon-Kuskokwim finfish meeting, there was no advance notice given to the public that the Upper Cook Inlet 2020 meeting location would be revisited. Beyond the bureaucratic failures, the resolution also claims the vote was taken despite personal assurances from Board Chairman Reed Moriskey that no vote would be taken Friday.

“They need to understand that government bodies need to work in a transparent fashion,” Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel said. “We always talk about this. But, this was certainly not transparent whatsoever.”

The resolution states that the board’s actions has the potential to erode public trust in the Board of Fisheries process and that “all Alaskans deserve consistency, openness, legal compliance and transparency when engaging with their government during any deliberative decision making process.”

The resolution asks that the board rescind the decision in order to restore trust. A copy of the resolution has been forwarded to Gov. Mike Dunleavy, Moriskey, Board of Fisheries Director Glenn Haight and the Board of Fisheries members.

Reach Kat Sorensen at ksorensen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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