Monday, December 7, 2009

The Tempest Continues, A Larger Teapot May Be In Order

Back to (very) local politics. I apologize in advance, but it's hard to present a clear picture and be succinct at the same time.

You may have noted my earlier posts concerning Borough Mayor David Carey's less-than-truthful answers to the Borough Assembly (and to the public) concerning his unprecedented pay raises for his personal staff and a select few other administration employees.

If you've read the Peninsula Clarion, you are also aware that other less-than-transparent events have occurred, one of which was a no-bid purchase of used equipment by the Borough from Chumley's Inc., a company owned (50%) by Hugh "Scooter" Chumley, Mayor Carey's Chief of Staff.

As the Clarion has reported, Assembly member Gary Knopp, along with Assembly member Charlie Pierce, plan on giving Mr. Chumley a "redo," and thus make his failure to report his "intention to do business with the Borough" (as required by Borough Code) moot.

Their "mulligan" ordinance was introduced at the December 1, 2009 Borough Assembly meeting, and was placed on the Assembly's agenda for hearing at the January 5, 2010 meeting.

Prior to this legislative action, a number of people used their three-minute public testimony to extol the various saint-like qualities of Mr. Chumley.

It should be noted that pretty much everyone testifying were members of Chumley's family, his close friends and/or his business partners... and my guess, persons who all benefit when Mr. Chumley benefits.

The Mayor, who signed off on the no-bid purchase, claims he was unaware that Mr. Chumley needed to file such "notice to do business" forms... which is odd, because, as the Clarion noted, Mr. Carey was a member of the assembly when the body approved the ordinance that requires them in October 1983.

Frankly, if this $18,000 faux pas was the only event of this nature in Mr. Chumley's one-year career as a Borough bureaucrat, I'd be willing to give him a pass, and chalk it up to ignorance and inexperience (which contradicts the Mayor's justification for Scooter's $20K pay raise).

After all, Chumley essentially said "oops, my fault," and returned the $18,000 for the mechanic equipment, plus another $ 1,800 that nobody even knew about (I guess Scooter figured it would come to light sooner or later).

But it isn't.

According to the same Clarion article, the Kenai Peninsula Borough has, in the last fiscal year, paid out some $398,000 to companies in which the Mayor's Chief of Staff has ownership.

All without a single "Notice of Intent to do business" filed. This indicates a pattern of abuse or incompetence. Or both.

When asked in writing (the only type of request to which he has been advised to respond) by the Clarion for comment on the above, the Mayor had this to say:
"I offer a Blessing to the Clarion staff for their coverage of this issue. It is not appropriate for me to be making additional statements to the press while this issue continues to play out. I will refrain from all additional comments to the press on this issue."
His holiness "offers a Blessing?" WTF? How about just some straight answers for a change?

My sources have told me that here will be many shoes dropping before this is over, so many that you'll think maybe a centipede occupies the Borough Mayor's office.

As I noted, a far larger teapot is likely in order.