The Kodiak City Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance on potential public information campaigns for two ballot propositions on the Oct. 4 municipal ballot.
The ordinance does not allocate additional funds, but lays the groundwork to allow the council to use $25,000 already budgeted to distribute information that “may influence the outcome of the election.”
According to packet materials, the ordinance is necessary because state law requires an ordinance for a municipality to distribute information that could be construed as partisan, and the Alaska Public Offices Commission defines “nonpartisan” narrowly.
With the ordinance in place, city resources, staff and funds can be used to distribute information on a ballot proposition to end the city’s exemption from the Alaska Public Employment Relations Act. Passage of the proposition would give city employees the right to bargain collectively. The city could also put out information about an advisory vote on consolidation of the city and borough governments.
City manager Amiée Kniaziowski said the information from any such action would have to be provided to the state.
“We are required to file APOC reports for anything and everything we do, and we’ll be using the attorney’s office to do that. They’re fairly complex and you don’t want to get crosswise with APOC,” she told council members.
Following approval of the ordinance, council entered into executive session to discuss strategy relating to the ballot initiatives.
Council cited discussion of “matters, the immediate knowledge of which would clearly have an adverse affect on the finances of the city” as the reason for the executive session. It was the second executive session to discuss strategy in response to the ballot initiatives.
Council also discussed unionization of the workforce in executive session in April.
The next meeting of the Kodiak City Council will be a work session held at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 6 in the Kodiak Public Library multipurpose room.