Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.

Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

People elected to the Kenai City Council during the Oct. 5 municipal election will be sworn in on Monday at Kenai City Hall.

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday’s meeting of the Kenai City Council, where the body’s new student representative Aleea Faulkner was sworn in and outgoing council members offered parting words. The council also certified the results of the Oct. 5 municipal election. Baisden and Sounart pulled ahead of three other candidates who were vying for two vacancies on the council, including incumbent Victoria Askin who was appointed to the council in December of 2020.

Several council members thanked Askin for her service during Wednesday night’s meeting, during which Askin said she plans to continue being involved in government.

“Thank you to the council for appointing me to serve these last 12 months,” Askin said Wednesday. “It’s been my honor to do so and I intend to stay involved in politics.”

Kenai Vice Mayor Bob Molloy, who has served on the city council for 16 years, was sent off with a standing ovation from his fellow council members and a plaque, as well as several comments thanking him for his years of service.

Council member Henry Knackstedt praised Molloy’s attention to detail and thanked him for always putting the City of Kenai first.

“What I appreciated was the thoroughness when you went through something,” Knackstedt said. “Even if we didn’t agree — it wasn’t important that we didn’t — but it usually improved with what was there already … it was always better legislation.”

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander similarly thanked Molloy for his work on the council.

“I’ve worked with a lot of legislators over the five years I was here and then the five years as I was at the borough, and you’re one of the best,” Ostrander said. “I really appreciate the work that you did for the city.”

Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel, who said he has served with Molloy for 12 of his 16 years, also thanked the vice mayor for his attention to detail when it came to city legislation and said he was looking forward to taking him out to dinner.

Molloy thanked his wife, Kristine Schmidt, who he said encouraged him to run for city council when he first considered doing so, as well as constituents who have voted for him during the last 16 years.

“I want to thank all the voters that elected me that first time and then expressed the confidence in me to reelect me — that was much appreciated,” Molloy said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege.”

In addition to the council’s two new members and student representative, council members also took time Wednesday to thank Kenai Parks and Recreation Director Bob Frates, who is retiring after decades of service with the city, and Kenai City Clerk Jamie Heinz, who is leaving the city later this month. Heinz’s role will be filled by Shellie Saner, who currently serves as the city clerk in Soldotna.

Wednesday’s full city council meeting can be viewed on the City of Kenai’s YouTube channel.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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