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No Resolution After Council's Second Executive Session On City Manager's Contract

Aug 23, 2017

City Manager Dave Martinson, pictured Aug. 8, 2017 at a regular session of the Unalaska City Council.
Credit Berett Wilber/KUCB

Once again, the Unalaska City Council has taken no action after calling an executive session to discuss the city manager’s contract behind closed doors.

The first session was sparsely attended by the public. But at Tuesday's meeting, councilors got an earful as more than 40 people packed City Hall.

Mayor Frank Kelty has confirmed this isn’t a routine contract review. Beyond that, it’s not clear why the City Council is looking so closely at Dave Martinson, who’s served as city manager for almost two years.

Councilors spent almost an hour in private session, while city attorney Brooks Chandler joined by telephone. When they reconvened before the public, Kelty made only a brief statement.

“The city manager’s existing contract is still in effect, and that’s all I have to say to that," said Kelty.

Unalaska resident Erin Enlow, however, had something more to say.

“There’s some stuff going on here," said Enlow. "It’s not proper. It’s not right."

That’s why Enlow created a Facebook event to encourage community members to attend the meeting and speak their minds.

“The parties involved can’t say anything," she said. "These are people I know, love, and trust, and if they can’t talk about it … I’m trying to find my own answers.”

Enlow declined to specify the parties involved. But in her post, she said the council is discussing Martinson’s contract because he refused to discipline Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley.

Shockley wasn’t immediately available for comment, and Martinson has declined to speak with KUCB.

But in the post, Enlow said Shockley created an anonymous online survey with questions about councilors’ performances that “appears to have made one or more of them uncomfortable.”

While councilors haven’t confirmed the reason for the executive sessions, several Unalaskans criticized them for disrespecting the first amendment right to free speech.

During public comments, Unalaska resident Dee Montier-Burke issued a challenge to the council.

“As elected officials, criticism from voters is like a performance review," said Montier-Burke. "It’s how you gauge voter opinion of the work you perform. Thus, it’s a chance for improvement. In the future, I challenge you to use public comment — whether it be positive, negative, or indifferent — as a chance for an opportunity and self-reflection."

The council’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 12. It’s unclear if the city manager’s contract will be on the agenda again.

Listen to the entire City Council meeting below.

Part 1 (Before Executive Session):

  Part 2 (After Executive Session):