SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Viewpoints: Letters / Opinions

RE: The Front-Page Test

By Tamela Cegelske


August 23, 2021
Monday PM

In response to Dan Bockhurst's opinion letter posted Aug 18 titled Front-Page Test.   Just my two cents but as someone who worked in local government in excess of 19 years I genuinely appreciated the honesty necessary in bringing these disclosures to our community.  I don't believe most taxpayers in the Borough knew that this type of activity existed locally and its is my belief that in bringing it to the attention of the general pubic a great service was provided.  We can not fix a US Government problem that has clearly gotten out of hand, without first starting on a local level.  The description Mr. Bockhorst provided in # 1. "Misuse of Public Resources"  immediately brought to my mind 'State of Alaska Conflict of Interest Laws', which I would allege certainly look to be purposefully, willfully, violated for what looks to be a n obvious personal gain. Mr. Bockhorst spoke to a second Manager's internal salary study saying: #2 "Study Used Different Standards and Procedures," as opposed to a previous - certainly contracted, consultant study which cost the Ketchikan tax payers $65,000 stating:  "It was heavily skewed" as it didn't take into account  benefits nor used the Manager's salary recommendations as presented in the tax payer paid consultants study. This made me immediately question who was involved in the "in-house" study, what if any, their possible gain could have been expected to be, if changes presented were suggested in any way or mandated changes to the paid study. How many hours were involved in the in-house study, at what dollar amount per hour and what were the totality of the costs for the second study to facilitate a proposed 23% increase to the Managers salary and a 20% increase in the Borough Manager's time off. The word malfeasance keeps flashes in my mind. While I am not personally alleging malfeasance, coercion, bribery, a misuse of public funds, or a violation of State Conflict of Interest or Ethics Laws, it to me already far exceeds what would be necessary to initiate a recall of an elected official  (I know I've been a part of one before.)   Certainly far past enough unexplained self edifying incidents to ask this Manager to step down from the his current position, of what should include accountability and community trust.  The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly hired  him to work for for the people of this community.  I allege what appears to have happened, has happened a lot to people in positions of trust and power.  At some point they take it upon themselves to enrich themselves - because they CAN! We The People were NOT looking, not watching, we trusted.  Unfortunately, We The People have been gullible and absent. We can no longer afford to be!

But it just gets worse and worse!!  Mr. Brockhurst in addressing his item #3 that the: "Proposed Salary Increase Concealed."  OUR current Borough Manager brought an item to the Borough Assembly for action that appears to not have been advertised: that they all took action on (unless it was snuck it in somewhere else.)  Possibly I read that incorrectly as acting on an item that is not on an agenda is a violation of the Open Meetings Act, or at least it was in 1992, unless the law has changed.  If not advertised and action was taken it could have the potential of initiating a recall of any Assemblypersons that took action on the item.  I'm sure it must have been hidden in there somewhere, huh?

And on and on and on.  While Mr. Bockhurst later showed the Assembly did take legal action on an increase to the Manager's salary at the expense of the rest of all Borough employees under #4 "Do for me but not for thee," I would have to allege that to me it looked as though the "Covid" timing was once again used by our government to take advantage of a bad situation for personal or political gain, but this time on a local level.  Then there was #5 "Assembly majority showed lack of concern"  While I appreciated seeing the information, the vastness of what was revealed was mind boggling and worrisome.  The attitude and behavior shown by a majority of the Borough Assembly was of great concern.  Not only the question of when and where a legitimate concern to the people of our community was stifled by an Assembly member looking out for fairness when the question came up of the nature of the in-house study but WHY was it stifled and by whom? It used to be when one read meeting minutes you could see wat led up to a motion.  Those types of things are no longer shown however.  Guess they thought no one cared.  They should be ashamed insulting another Assembly member attempting to do the people's work. Can't get the question WHY they would out of my head?  Insulting a member of the public, again one needs to ask Why and self respecting representative acts like that? The end vote based upon the second study as opposed to the first, as well as the hidden second Borough Manager position basically gives me great pause, and many questions.  It is apparent something needs to be done locally and FAST with the way business is being done!   It is the Mayor's job to provide decorum in a meeting and the fact that genuine questions regarding all of the things listed above has not been brought to light, until now - is mind boggling.

There were three more items folks, absolute insanity in local government from my view, as opposed to the rule of law Mr. Bockhorst's #6 if the Borough with its reduced "Covid pandemic staff" needs "Two Managers Needed" with a 25% pay increase and reclassification to certain Managers duties and reclassification for an Assistant Manager with all 110 other borough employees completely ignored by all, and #7 "Assistant Manager Preselected???."  Then there is # 8 Hybrid form of Government. This is OUR USA government in a mirror folks, just locally, right now,  glaring at us to do something, daring us  - in our town. There were multiple issues brought to light under this #8. Folks of Ketchikan it's "Community Task Force Time." Time for me to call a lawyer friend and for us to meet together for "Our Town."  Time for us to get involved as a community.  In answer to Mr. Bockhorst's question what would I do if these things were written about me on the front page of the Ketchikan Daily News: my answer is: I would resign quickly and succinctly.

Since this is all my opinion I believe this all started when they took prayer out of schools, and with politicians dividing people with us versus them, with intolerance, with hate speech and when people stopped caring and became desensitized, gullibly trusting, mindlessly obedient - we turned a blind eye,  Now its WAY out of control.  The battle of good over evil is staring us all in the face and tyranny rules.  Did you know the CDC has on their web page a potential implementation of "shielding centers" across our country.  It's been there since last Wednesday in little local towns they intend to remove people they deem as "high risk" individuals from their homes, for up to six months or until "Covid" goes away.  It will not be an opt out kind of program.  Only up to 50 people though in each home. They do not say what happens to # 51.  Does that sound OK to everyone?  They call it their "shielding approach," I just happened to see it on their website, on the day before  the new WISH building was on the front page of the Daily News, last Thursday.  What a coincidence, huh?  The Army is hiring "internment resettlement specialists" at careers and jobs and Homeland Security has reclassified "domestic terrorist". You would not believe the new definition you should read it for yourself to me it sounded like basically anyone who disagrees with the anything the current administration says.   Sound OK folks with you all?  This is not a conspiracy "theory", these are OUR current facts. It starts here.  We need to make a difference. We can no longer be complacent and gullibly trusting others to do the right thing. It seems they choose not too and are in no way shy about their actions, nor care what we think.  Check the links for yourself or don't be surprised when they come for you, or your mom, or grandma.  You have been advised.  It is time to call people into account and to refuse tyranny at any and all levels.  It's time to get right with your maker folks - as they used to say.  The Ketchikan Gateway Borough Manager needs to do the honorable thing for our community and step down, now!.  We the People need to call our government into accountability, at ALL levels.  Ketchikan are you woke yet?  We also have a School Board that's being pretty tricky and the CDC has big plans for the children under this administration.  It starts here.
Tamela Cegelske
Ketchikan, Alaska

Conflict of Interest | Alaska | Encyclopedia of Law
Conflict of Interest in Alaska Conflict of Interest Definition in the Legislative Process. A situation when a public official takes or withholds official action or exerts official influence that could substantially benefit or harm a financial matter in which the person has a direct or indirect private interest (See AS 24.60.030).

Ethics Information for Public Employees (AS 39.52) - Alaska
IntroductionScope of Ethics ActMisuse of Official PositionImproper GiftsImproper Use Or Disclosure of InformationImproper Influence in State Grants, Contracts, Leases Or LoansImproper RepresentationOutside EmploymentRestriction on Employment After Leaving State ServiceDisclosure Procedures

Service in a public office is a public trust. The Ethics Act prohibits substantial and material conflicts of interest. Further, public employees, and their immediate family, may not improperly benefit, financially or personally, from their actions as public employees. The Act does not, however, discourage independent pursuits and it recognizes that minor and inconsequential conflicts of interest are unavoidable.
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Editor's Note:

The text of this letter was NOT edited by the SitNews Editor.

Received August 18, 2021 - Published August 23, 2021

Related Viewpoint:

letter The Front-Page Test By Dan Bockhorst


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