FAIRBANKS — An Alaska commission has recommended a fine against the mayor of North Pole, saying he used taxpayer money to influence the outcome of his recall election.
The Alaska Public Offices Commission staff found that North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson used city funds to mail a newsletter that discussed his recall on the October ballot, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
The staff report said Isaacson should pay a $1,800 fine to cover the cost of the newsletter and postage. The staff also suggested he write and distribute an apology letter to the community, a $600 expense, which would be deducted from the fine.
Isaacson said he was strictly discussing procedure in the August newsletter and was not trying to influence the vote. North Pole voters rejected the recall.
“It was very clear I was not trying to get people to vote one way or the other,” Isaacson said. “By bringing it up, I actually ran the risk of having more people vote against me.”
Tammy Randolph, the leader of the recall group that also filed the complaint, said the issue is whether tax dollars were misused, and it’s not about punishment.
The group alleged Isaacson misused personal leave, abused per diem and city credit card privileges, and failed to collect sales taxes from a defunct restaurant, among other charges.
“You cannot use taxpayer funds to fund your lifestyle,” Randolph said.
Randolph said the group is not planning to file any other complaints but is watching the mayor closely.
“As a result of all this, he has reined some of it in,” she said.
The commission will vote on the fine at a hearing Friday.
Isaacson said he does not regret his actions because he was not trying to break any laws.