The charter and the manager

Letter to the editor

Posted: Monday, January 06, 2003

Related Editorial:

Empire editorial: Pierce's return gives pause to reconsider MacKinnon

While I'm glad to see that Donna Pierce has decided to resume her employment with the city, her rehiring cannot and does not change the charter provisions that prevent Mr. MacKinnon from being considered for the manager's job, and it's time that the Empire stopped spreading such misinformation in its editorials.

Your publisher apparently doesn't understand the provisions of our city's charter, its founding legal document, or chooses to ignore what it says.

At the end of his rambling and incoherent "editorial," Mr. Smith says "To exclude MacKinnon from consideration because of his stature in the community and legitimate qualifications is not justified or fair."

First, this sentence makes no sense, and second, a majority of Assembly members voted in accordance with the Charter to not consider Mr. MacKinnon's application because he is prohibited by Section 4.2 of the charter from being appointed, regardless of any other qualifications. I'm grateful that at least a bare majority of Assembly members can understand the document that governs their actions.

Instead of conducting an unscientific online "poll" that can be stacked by his friends in the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Smith should have the Empire do some true random sample polling of CBJ residents. I doubt if he will, though, because his track record shows that even when Juneauites vote for something he disagrees with, such as improved ferries instead of a boondoggle road to nowhere, Mr. Smith and his friends will continue to pump, pump, pump for their pet projects and screwball ideas like illegally hiring a city manager.

Mr. Smith's inept attempts to urge citizens to storm City Hall in support of Mr. MacKinnon's illegal appointment would be better spent on encouraging the many qualified potential applicants with eight years of experience as government managers in the Knowles administration to apply for the permanent city manager's job. I can think of several former Knowles commissioners who would be excellent CBJ managers, including former Attorney General and Mayor Bruce Botelho and former Commissioner of Corrections Margaret Pugh, to name only two.

Yours for better local government,

Dennis P. Harris


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