SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


State-Funded Knik Bridge Authority Doles Out
38 percent Pay Raises To Top Executives


September 27, 2006

Recently obtained public records show that a state-created bridge authority met in secret this summer, and voted to give its top executives salary increases of up to 38 percent according to Rep. Les Gara who represents Government Hill in the Legislature. One official at the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority ("KABATA") received a $40,000 pay increase.

Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage) stated, "Public employees with $100,000 jobs don't need $35,000 raises. Something is wrong with this picture."
Stephanie Kesler, President of the Government Hill Community Council in Anchorage, called the raises an "affront to the lower and middle-income Government Hill families whose homes are in the direct path of KABATA's bulldozers." KABATA officials have repeatedly ignored community requests that the Authority help design a bridge access route that does not destroy homes in the Government Hill neighborhood - Anchorage's oldest. Kesler believes the raises are "mind boggling" in light of the Authority's refusal to respect legitimate community concerns, and are "an example of KABATA's 'let them eat cake' approach." 
In a news release, Rep. Les Gara stated KABATA was created by the Legislature and the Murkowski Administration to help plan a $600 million to $1.5 billion bridge connecting Anchorage to Pt. McKenzie. The bridge would not reduce the commute time between Anchorage and Palmer or Wasilla. KABATA officials recently stated they might consider starting construction of a tunnel through the Government Hill community even before plans and funding for the bridge, still an uncertain project, are finalized.
KABATA and the public have wrangled since KABATA's inception in 2004. While residents have asked the bridge authority to help develop an access route from Anchorage to the eventual bridge through Elmendorf Air Force base that wouldn't damage neighborhood homes, KABATA has refused to follow through in any substantial way said Rep. Gara.
According to information provided by Rep. Gara, three top KABATA officials received raises of roughly 30 percent to 40 percent. Executive Director Henry Springer's salary increased from $104,496 to $130,000, Deputy Executive Director Darryl Jordan's salary jumped from $90,324 to $130,000, and Chief Financial Officer Kevin Hemenway's salary jumped from $90,324 to $129,000.  Four of the seven Board Members are State Commissioners (the Commissioners of the Departments of Transportation and Revenue) and legislators.  The two legislators do not have voting positions.


Source of News:

Rep. Les Gara (D-Anchorage)


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