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Angoon council works to revive government

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2008

After months without city meetings, the Angoon City Council has named a new mayor and is trying to nurse the town's ailing local government back to health.

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First-term member Albert Howard was appointed mayor after new council members Lenora Walker, Edward Jack and Harriet Silva were sworn in at a Dec. 19 meeting.

"This is a good thing. We can now move forward with the city," council member Lillian Woodbury said. "I'm looking forward to getting the ball rolling."

The new council members were all write-in candidates who beat a slate of former mayors during a November election in Angoon, 55 miles west of Juneau. That election was called after the results of an Oct. 2 election were nullified amid allegations of electioneering.

Howard is away from Angoon on family business, but Woodbury said the government of Angoon has met three times during the last month to bring municipal affairs back in order following months without city meetings.

Months went by without a quorum to hold a council meeting after the failed October election and the September resignation of Mayor Walter Jack.

Council member Richard George served as mayor pro tem for three months after Jack's departure.

Woodbury called the recent meetings "productive brainstorming" sessions.

The new council started work by dealing with city debt, raising money to keep the town's public safety officer and beginning work on a capital improvement project application to the state. The city is also looking to hire a new clerk and bookkeeper.

"It gets the ball rolling in a positive direction," Woodbury said.

According to Lawrence Blood, state government specialist, the new government acted fast to satisfy requirements in an effort to unfreeze grant money the state locked up during Jack's administration.

The new mayor and council have shown the financial capacity to handle money and brought previous grant reporting up to date, Blood said. The city is working on obtaining insurance and, with that, he thinks the grants could begin flowing again soon.

• Contact Greg Skinner at 523-2258 or greg.skinner@juneauempire.com.



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