Local News

The Borough Assembly is tweaking WMC board ordinance

The Wrangell Borough Assembly is revisiting an ordinance that was meant to limit the Medical Center board’s powers.

The original ordinance, which was passed in August, brought the board under the umbrella of the borough government. It requires the medical center board to get approval from the Borough Assembly for repair contracts that total more than $25,000. Also, the borough manager must now approve any grants or funds solicited by the board. Any contracts with a hospital administrator must be approved by the borough manager and attorney.

When it was passed, there were concerns from citizens and WMC staff. Some had questions about the amount of power the borough has over rates and fees at the hospital. Others wondered if the new rule would align hospital personnel policies and procedures with those of the borough.

The borough assembly unanimously approved the clause at the time saying it was a good starting point, but they would revisit it. Manager Tim Rooney said the borough has been working with the newly-elected hospital board to work out any remaining concerns.

“The first one would be limiting the hospital board liaison’s participation in executive sessions to executive sessions only and not executive sessions that involve physician credentialing. And the second thing would be regarding personnel rules and removes the requirement that the personnel policies be consistent with the personnel rules of the borough. However, it does still require that the Borough Assembly sign off on those personnel rules,” he said.

Borough Assembly member James Stough mentioned an issue he had regarding solicitation by the hospital board for funds and grants. He said a written report from board members to the borough manager doesn’t go far enough.

“What I would like to see us add, or when we have this come up in our ordinance committee, would be to add ‘and to report to the assembly.’ I’d like to see the furtherance of it to carry it right through so that the assembly be informed also. Not that we don’t think the city manager will do his job, I just think we should have it written down as part of the rules. That way we assure that there’s follow-through all the way through,” he said.

None of the members objected to that proposal. The assembly approved the ordinance on its first reading. There will be a second reading and public hearing during the assembly’s next meeting, which is set for Nov. 27.

In other business, assembly members appointed David Jack to the vacant borough assembly seat. Members also appointed Eric Yancey to fill the vacancy on the Port Commission.

Members also approved a fuel contract for the next year with Delta Western totaling $528,494. The company will supply fuel for the city and borough, public schools, and the medical center.

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