Signatures fall short for recall of mayor
December 29th, 2017 | Carey Restino
The first round of signatures submitted in an effort to recall Unalaska Mayor Frank Kelty fell short of the number needed to move the recall forward, the city clerk reported.
The petition with 172 signatures was submitted Dec. 15, but City Clerk Marjie Veeder said 14 of the signees were not registered to vote. The petition needed 168 valid signatures to move forward.
Petitioners say, however, that they will find more signers before the Jan. 2 deadline.
The recall petition alleges Kelty attempted to sole-source a land-use agreement for the Unalaska Marine Center, which Veeder approved as a claim that, should it be true, would constitute grounds for a recall vote.
While the clerk approved one of the grounds for the recall petition, she rejected three others. The petition alleged that Kelty violated his duties when he conducted private discussions and negotiations with a representative of Matson Shipping outside of the public process, when he failed to conduct an executive session and when he failed to comply with provisions regarding setting and changing council agendas.
The city clerk responded that the Unalaska City Code does not prohibit the mayor from conducting private discussions and negotiations outside of the public process unless the discussion is regarding personnel matters, thus negating the first allegation. The allegation that the mayor violated the open meetings act by failing to conduct an executive session was removed from the petition due to the fact that the allegation was not made "with particularity," meaning it did not identify what meeting it was referring to. The third claim that was removed, regarding setting and changing council agendas, was also lacking specifics, the clerk said in a letter to Burke.
With regard to the single allegation that was approved, Veeder said that while the city code did have an exception allowing sole source disposals of city property, a city council resolution is required for such situations. No city resolutions were passed approving sole-source negotiations, she said.
Kelty said the city manager handled negotiations for the lease of city land, and his meetings with private shipping companies did not involve contract negotiations.
Should the petitioners acquire and submit the needed signatures by Jan. 2, an election would be scheduled for no later than 75 days later. Voters could then choose to recall the mayor or not based on a majority vote.