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EDITOR, Daily News:
City Council members come and go. They’re sworn in and have high expectations to get their platforms addressed and change the course of Ketchikan’s lifestyle. It doesn’t take long for newbies to see the way the government is orchestrated through the city manager’s office.
Karl Amylon, a civil servant, has been city manager for over 24 years, and, in nautical terms, has become an encrustation of barnacles. I’m not sure why the City Council has given so much power to one man. Amylon also is manager of the city-owned Ketchikan Public Utilities. As manager, he also is involved with the city contract between PeaceHealth and the city, which owns the hospital building.
Amylon has been through the downturn and deregulation of timber, mining, fishing and aviation, and the upturn in tourism, which is a cash cow for the city’s coffers. Conversations around my water cooler and favorite coffee houses reveal Amylon has made enemies amongst many residents and business owners, who would like to retire Amylon and move on to a more pro-active,win-win solution mandatory for survival in the next 20 years.
Perhaps the only hope is through election of new council members. The residents are not inclined to reward the guy a pay raise. We wanted our elected officials to stand up against the man and start the process for retirement and hire a new city manager.
In the next council meeting, members could be given a secret ballot in which to vote: Yes for a pay raise. No for no raise. Although, it might be too late because the vote already took place. Other cities like Kodiak and Sitka have gone through the process in the last 5-10 years. There should be limits. Change is good for the health of our economy.
If given a ballot today, I’d vote no on Amylon’s pay raise and yes on new leadership: City manager, city attorney, and directors of Ports & Harbors and Public Works.
LESLIE H. DUNCAN