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Politics

Stories about politics.

Christine Trudeau / KYUK

This is House District 38 Rep. Tiffany Zulkosky’s first full session as a state legislator, and she has some significant challenges as the chairwoman of a newly-created special committee on tribal affairs. The Dunleavy administration has taken stances that tribal advocates oppose.  But overall, she says she is pleased with how her fellow lawmakers received the discussions about tribes' role in the state.  


Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

On Tuesday, the Bethel City Council chose an executive search firm to look for a new city manager. The name of the search firm remains confidential until the regular council meeting next week, when the contract could be approved. 

Once council and the firm sign a contract, the firm will advertise the job, collect applications, and narrow down the field to a handful of applicants. That should take two to three months. Then it will be up to the council to review those candidates.

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The City of Bethel could be on the hook for a lot of money. Bethel’s insurance company told the city council on Tuesday that the city is on its own if former City Manager Pete Williams files a wrongful termination lawsuit. 

Barbara Thurston, the executive director of Alaska Public Entity Insurance, said the reason the city would not be covered can be seen in the insurance contract the city signed.

"It requires that members consult an attorney before terminating an employee and following the recommendations of the attorney," Thurston said.

Jeremy Hsieh / KTOO

The Alaska Legislature wants to set aside the month of November to celebrate Alaska Native heritage, and a bill to make that happen just passed both houses. All it needs is Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s signature. 

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

For the first time in history, the Bethel City Council passed an ordinance to compensate members for attending meetings. But it will only take effect if a public vote affirms the decision. The council has not yet acted to place the measure on the ballot in October. 

The ordinance introduced by Fritz Charles passed 4 to 3, with Charles, Mayor Fred Watson, Vice-Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams, and council member Carole Jung-Jordan voting for compensation. Council members Leif Albertson, Mitchell Forbes, and Perry Barr voted against the ordinance. 

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Bethel City Council had a busy night. Among other things, it signed off on its roads plan and approved ONC's Ciullkulek Subdivision.  

The vote on the subdivision was unanimous. ONC has plans for 38 homes and a senior center near the post office, and has touted the project as new affordable housing in Bethel. The roads plan seeks more than a million dollars in federal funding under the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program and would require a $175,000 city match.

Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

The Bethel City Council postponed a budget meeting Tuesday due to lack of quorum. That’s the third time in a row that not enough council members have showed up.

The delay in budget meetings started on April 30, when Leif Albertson was the only council member in attendance.

Albertson missed the next meeting, but so did every other council member besides Fritz Charles.

Bethel's Fire Chief Bill Howell serving as Acting City Manager
Greg Kim / KYUK

Bethel Fire Chief Bill Howell is now Bethel’s Acting City Manager. City council appointed Howell to the position last week, three days after publicly firing former City Manager Pete Williams. As KYUK reports, Howell has sat in the city manager’s seat before, but never under these circumstances. 


Bethel City Council will discuss proposed alcohol ordinance and replacing City Attorney Patty Burley.
Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Bethel City Council introduced an ordinance last week that would pay its council members for attending meetings. It wasn’t the first time council has considered compensating itself. Five times, a version of an ordinance to compensate city council members has been introduced; five times it has been voted down. 


Bethel Fire Chief and Acting City Manager Bill Howell
City of Bethel

Fire Chief Bill Howell is serving as Bethel’s Acting City Manager after Bethel City Council appointed him to the position on Friday. All council members attended the special meeting except Perry Barr, who was attending his daughter’s high school graduation. Vice-Mayor Raymond “Thor” Williams nominated Howell for the position, and the rest of the council unanimously agreed. 

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