SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Borough Manager does not answer key question
By Mary Lynn Dahl


August 11, 2007

In June I asked 6 questions of Roy Eckert, Borough Manager and now I have his answers, 2 months later. Mr. Eckert did not provide the answers, however; the Daily News provided them to me. Mr. Eckert is quoted as saying that he "did not intend to forward the answers to Dahl because he did not know how to reach her". I guess that means that he does not know how to use the phone book, where I am listed, twice.

The bigger problem is, however, that he does not answer a key question. I think it is clear that Roy Eckert is not interested in answering the question of why no one has obtained an explanation from the bank who is supposed to have made the clerical error that allowed Jerry Jenkins to get almost $200,00 0 in arrears on payments to the Borough. The reason he is not interested in an explanation is that he knows that it is not true; there was no clerical error. I challenge either Mr. Eckert or Mr. Jenkins to prove that there was a bank clerical error.

In April Roy Eckert said that the money owed to the Borough from Jerry Jenkins at $33,000 per month was not paid (for 6 months) due to a "bank clerical error" and this "bank clerical error" was due to the merger of Regions Bank and Alliance Bank. I had already determined that this was not true, by calling both Regions Bank and Alliance Bank, who both emphatically stated that neither bank had purchased the other and that no merger between the two had occurred. So, why did Mr. Eckert say this in the April article in the Ketchikan Daily News? That was my first question. His answer was that his staff assumed the merger of the two banks because they had received a check one month from one bank and another month from the other bank. That is absurd. It is totally illogical to believe that anyone would conclude that one bank had purchased the other simply because the buyer paid with 2 checks from 2 different banks. The more plausible reason for 2 checks from 2 different banks is that Mr. Jenkins simply has bank accounts at more than one bank, as do many people.

My second question was whether or not Roy Eckert intended to get an explanation from the bank which supposedly made the clerical error. Mr. Eckert has responded to say that he does not intend to inquire of any bank in that regard, as he views it as being an issue between Mr. Jenkins and his bank, not a Borough matter. As I have already stated, I disagree strongly with Mr. Eckert that it is not a Borough issue. As long as public assets and public money is involved in this entire Jenkins/RKG deal, and until the Borough has been paid the $9 million it is owed in November 2007, full financial disclosure and complete transparency is in order. Anything less is unacceptable.

The other questions related to whether or not Mr. Eckert and Mr. Jenkins had business, personal, and financial or employment arrangements with each other. Those answers that they do, to the extent that Mrs. Eckert is employed by RKG on a temporary, part-time basis, were straightforward and acceptable.

The nagging question that remains is an important one. Mr. Eckert has repeatedly stated that Mr. Jenkins told him that the bank clerical error was the reason why the monthly payments were not made. Talk to any local banker and ask them if they believe that a bank would be able to make a clerical error that would cause this kind of thing to happen. They will either laugh or tell you seriously that it does not happen. Mr. Eckert's determination to avoid seeking a written explanation from the bank that supposedly made this clerical error looks like an attempt to avoid being caught in a lie. Further, his excuse that it is between Mr. Jenkins and his bank is fallacious to the extreme. Finally, Mr. Eckert has treated all of this in an arrogant, cavalier manner. He has literally been forced to provide his answers rather than giving them voluntarily. He has dragged his feet, taking an inordinate amount of time to provide simple answers that could have been provided months ago. I suspect that it was his hope that I would drop the subject, that the public would be complacent and easily placated and that the issue would simply fade away. It has not. I have received over 30 phone calls and encouragements from ordinary citizens to ask the questions and press for truthful, plausible answers.

It is my hope that Mr. Jenkins is successful in starting and operating the veneer mill at Ward Cove, but only if he pays the $9 million in full, on time, using his own money or money he borrows without the help of Ketchikan Gateway Borough. Until that happens, this ongoing refusal to provide verifiable proof that Jenkins' bank made the clerical error leaves me to conclude that they do not answer because they have something to hide. If Mr. Eckert and Mr. Jenkins are not 100% forthright, something is amiss. This is why I am concerned, and this is why I continue to keep this issue in the eye of the public.

Mary Lynn Dahl
Ketchikan, AK


Received August 10, 2007 - Published August 11, 2007

About: "A concerned citizen interested in the long term well-being and financial integrity of Ketchikan and surrounding areas."

Viewpoints - Opinion Letters:

letter Webmail Your Opinion Letter to the Editor



Note: Comments published on Viewpoints are the opinions of the writer
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sitnews.


E-mail your letters & opinions to
Your full name, city and state are required for publication.

SitNews ©2007
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska