Local News

City reacts to recall vote, prepares for next steps

Unofficial results are in for Wrangell’s June 19th Special Recall Election.  With more than 600 registered voters turning out to the polls, election results leave 8 of the 9 members of Wrangell Medical Center’s Board of Directors recalled. KSTK’s Charlotte Duren has the details on what’s next in the recall process.

“Now it’s time to get down to business and get a new board seated and start working on getting our new hospital and long term care facility built in a responsible manner.”  Laura Salard, one of the vote ‘YES’ recall supporters celebrating outside the Nolan Center Tuesday evening. Unofficial results from the June 19th Special Election show 8 of the 9 Wrangell Medical Center board members recalled from their elected positions.

“This is an unusual circumstance and it’s not one that I’ve seen in Wrangell or any other place in terms of the number of board people being recalled.”

Wrangell Mayor Jeremy Maxand says a major concern is how the recall might affect the town’s new hospital project. He says the Borough Manager is in Washington, D. C., this week, meeting with Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich to brief them on the recall and make sure the project moves forward.

“We will be bringing every resource we have to make sure that the USDA fulfills its commitment to issue a revenue bond and move as quickly as we can to have a new hospital constructed,” he says.

Maxand says the next step in the election process is canvassing absentee ballots and certifying election results.  He says if the vote count remains the same, the Borough Assembly will get guidance at its next regular meeting from the municipal attorney on what steps should be taken to fill the hospital board vacancies.

Receiving the most ‘yes’ votes to be recalled is Hospital Board Member Linda Bjorge. She says despite the results, she’s glad the election is over and hopes the community will be able to move forward.

“I just hope that the town settles down now and quits there feuding and the name calling and I wish we can just get back to being a good community and I wish them well and I hope they can do good things,” she says.

Unofficial results from the recall election show all 8 hospital board members on the ballot recalled from their positions. In addition to Bjorge, they include Jim Nelson, Sylvia Ettefagh, Lurine McGee, Jake Harris, Delores Norman, LeeAnn Rinehart, and Chairman Mark Robinson.

We’ll post vote counts on our website at KSTK.org. 190 absentee and 25 undecided ballots will be canvassed Thursday June 21st at 1:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers.

Election Results:

Jim Nelson: 382 Yes — 243 No

Lurine McGee: 389 Yes — 234 No

Sylvia Ettefagh: 381 Yes — 241 No

Linda Bjorge: 414 Yes — 210 No

Jake Harris: 330 Yes —  295 No

Delores Norman: 376 Yes — 247 No

LeAnn Rinehart: 393 Yes — 229 No

Hospital Board Chair Mark Robinson: 399 Yes — 226 No

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