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Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions


By Douglas Thompson


January 24, 2017
Tuesday AM


I agree with David Hanger's recent letter concerning cost overruns. We pay in total close to three hundred thousand dollars per year to Amylon as an administrator. the question is for what? Since he has been here I can not recall one project that has come in on budget and many that have had to be redone at cost to the city. The argument certainly can not be made that we are paying for expertise! The waste of tax dollars is appalling. The lack of concern by the council is disgusting. Their continued response as the funds drain away that should have upgraded sewer, water, streets and other vital services is to threaten to increase taxes. Why do we need such a costly incompetent manager with several assistants to shovel away the tax dollars?

Concerning just the hospital, Mr. Hanger's topic. Who else in this entire country would put several hundreds of millions of dollars worth of infrastructure in the hands of a corporation in return for one dollar per year? That has been the going rate for decades as we pump tax dollars into every single improvement at that institution. Peace Health has not invested any of their money that I am aware of. Yet for that gift we are privileged to pay three and four times the procedure rates charged in the Seattle area at full for profit hospitals. The contract does not even go up for competitive bid. So we are deprived of any benefit for our huge investment other than one dollar! If I invested several hundreds of millions of dollars for you and at the end of the year gave you one dollar as earnings you certainly wouldn't have me as your manager next year I am sure.

Did anyone take a walk on the city floats during this past freeze? Did you see the broken water lines? We have ten harbormasters or pool boys or whatever title they have taken. Yet none of them could be bothered to actually fix a broken water line nor to remove the ice that was a hazard to foot traffic. That is another million plus dollars per year for labor that does nothing but drink coffee and ride around in city vehicles giving no value to the tax payer or rate payer. Not to mention that extravagant office we built and rebuilt for them to lounge in. The same number of stalls used to be easily handled by two harbor staff with no problem. More of that wonderful 'management'.

Then handing the city's checkbook to Amylon to let him write his own contract which the council rubber stamps and then to further the insult to taxpayers hands him 'gifts' of thousands of tax dollars above and beyond what he has taken. This exceeds any sort of credulity. In almost any arena of city endeavor you will find the impact of this mismanagement and it is costly. If he was paid on a performance basis he'd not make minimum wage.

Let us take a look at a sane community like Haines. They actually banked their money and created a mini permanent fund which pays for the city operations. We too could have done that instead of throwing millions away at the behest of incompetent leadership and management. There is not one of the members current or past on the council that would handle their private finances in a like manner yet they seem to have no problem wasting other people's money.

I believe having proven that the 'city manager' concept of government does not work we should change to an elected mayor/manager such as many other Alaskan communities i.e. Anchorage have. I further think that since we have proven beyond all doubt that "experience" does not get us efficiency or responsibility but only cronyism and costly waste that we should limit council positions to two terms maximum. Combine this with a creditable performance audit by qualified third party and we might begin the trek back to fiscal sanity in Ketchikan. I would suggest that taxpayers check out the budgets and expenditures of similar sized towns (less than ten thousand population) around the country. It is pretty shocking to say the least.

It is time for an open discussion on options for cleaning up this bloated government and fiscal mess we have been saddled with by Amylon and his 'pet' council. Amylon and the council certainly in their hubris are not going to address it. Initiatives limiting bonding and taxing, recalls etc. all need to be considered. The first step needs to be getting rid of Amylon.

Thank you Mr. Hanger for shedding light on this topic that needs addressing.


Douglas Thompson
Ketchikan, Alaska

Received January 19, 2017 - Published January 24, 2017

About: " a life long Ketchikan resident fed up with the abuses of public trust"

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