The Juneau Assembly passed an ordinance Monday night giving the city's Personnel Department a say in the Docks and Harbors Department's hiring and firing in response to ongoing labor complaints.
The harbors department continues to be in charge of hiring and firing decisions, but is required by the new ordinance to obtain assistance from the Personnel Department when making these decisions. The ordinance also gives the Assembly control of Docks and Harbor land dealings.
Without comment, the Assembly unanimously passed a revision of Title 85, the city ordinance that regulates the powers and duties of the department.
The city was recently hit with three unfair-labor-practice complaints from Docks and Harbors employees and one harassment allegation from a former employee. City and union officials have declined to discuss the pending complaints.
The Marine Engineers Beneficial Association filed the unfair-labor-practice complaints in February. The harassment complaint was filed in December.
MEBA Business Agent Ben Goldrich encouraged the Assembly to pass the ordinance because it would resolve problems associated with Docks and Harbors overseeing personnel.
"We see this ordinance as a positive step and big step in resolving some of these issues," Goldrich said.
The Docks and Harbors Board created a special audit committee to review the allegations. It is expected to release its findings Thursday.
After receiving the harassment complaint, the city hired an investigator who later learned of additional personnel-related problems in Docks and Harbors.
The other significant change to the ordinance requires any sale, purchase or trade of land be subject to review by the Juneau Planning Commission and approved by the Assembly. The Assembly wanted control over land management decisions in light of the city's long-range waterfront plan.
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