The City and Borough of Juneau may soon attempt to put a question on the ballot seeking to remove state financial disclosure laws and replace them with its own set. The League of Women Voters on Monday will host a public information forum to clarify the issue.
League board member carolyn Brown said the goal is to provide a factual informational forum to explain what the Alaska Public Offices Commission is and does, what the city is proposing to do, how the two differ and what the intent behind each is.
Brown said they also will hear what each “side’s” regulations purport to do.
“Is it to protect the public’s interest, or as Bruce Botelho said in his memo, is it to protect public officials’ overexposure?” she asked.
APOC is also in the process of re-writing financial disclosure regulations. Brown believes most were unaware of that when this question was brought up, but how the regulation changes will affect the city also will be addressed.
“We’ve said over and over again, this is not a debate of should we do one or another,” Brown said of the forum. “What does each purport to do? Why are we doing it? What does it do in the future for the public’s interest and public officials?”
Brown said the League of Women Voters is hosting the forum for people to gain information and participate in the process.
“Because I believe so very strongly in participatory democracy and because I believe education is very, very powerful,” she said. “It all boils down to participating in our democracy, whether it’s public disclosure, electing a school board official, building another road or whatever it is.”
Judy Andree, League of Women Voters Juneau president, said board member Cheryl Jebe will officiate. Joan Mize, APOC’s representative, will give a 10-minute presentation on the commission and municipal regulations; Deputy Mayor Merrill Sanford will address why the city wants to opt-out of APOC rules and implement its own; City Attorney John Hartle will give a five-minute presentation on how the two sets of regulations differ; Kathie Wasserman, director of the Alaska Municipal League, will address positive aspects of opting out of state requirements; Charles Ward of the Empire will present on the negative aspects of opting out; Doug Mertz, a private Juneau attorney, also will present on cons of opting out.
There will be a five-minute break after all presenters are complete for audience members to fill out index cards with questions.
A question-and-answer session will follow, with a one-minute closing response by each panelist and final thoughts by audience members.
The forum is at 7 p.m. in the Assembly Chambers.
At 6 p.m. on June 27, the Assembly Committee of the Whole will have a work session, with one of the topics including Ordinance 2011-13b, calling for replacing state requirements with a city ordinance.
At 7 p.m. on July 11, the issue will head to the regular Assembly meeting with a public hearing on the ordinance.
For more information on the proposed ordinance, Mayor Bruce Botelho’s memo, or a side-by-side comparison see: http://www.juneau.org/clerk/elections/.
For more information on APOC financial disclosure laws see: http://doa.alaska.gov/apoc/apoclaws.html.
For more information on the League of Women Voters Juneau see: http://www.juneaulwv.org/index.shtml.
• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.