News from Patrick Flynn

More kindling

This post will include a couple new features rarely seen on this site.  First, a politician admitting his error and, second, a really, really bad pun.  Regarding the former, Mr. Hall sent me an e-mail Thursday asking to meet for a few minutes and reminded me we were introduced last summer when I joined several fire fighters for a helicopter tour of Anchorage’s high-risk wildfire areas.  I’d forgotten meeting him and primarily recall that a fire along the Campbell Creek greenbelt broke out shortly after I’d disembarked (good timing on my part).

As to the latter, based on the comments I’ve received it’s clear that Tuesday’s post ignited something of a firestorm (at least I warned you).  I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but on Friday the mayor sent Assembly members a one-page memo describing how the proposed waiver would protect against any potential nepotism along with a four-page version of Mr. Hall’s resume.  Comments & memos aside, to me the question of whether Mr. Hall is qualified for the position of fire chief is beside the point.

One of the ways we expedite city business is that Assembly members are encouraged to send an e-mail to the municipal manager (George Vakalis) with questions about items on the agenda prior to our Tuesday meetings.  Here’s an excerpt from the one I sent yesterday:

[Agenda item]14 B – Fire Chief personnel code waiver.  I’m struggling on this one  as I cannot discern an urgent reason to waive municipal code.  If  the law is wrong we should address the law.  If there is an  overriding circumstance to waive the law I need to hear it.

Mr. Vakalis pledged to get an answer back to me on Monday but it’s hard to fathom what “overriding circumstance” the administration might have.  Like any organization I am sure the fire department has challenges that need to be addressed.  That said, I don’t know anyone who would assert there are problems so significant that Mark Hall, and uniquely Mark Hall, can be entrusted to address them.  As I told Mr. Hall when we met Thursday, this isn’t about him personally, this is about whether we follow the law or not.

While Anchorage is rapidly approaching a population of 300,000 people, we’re still a pretty small town in many respects.  Given that, perhaps the anti-nepotism law is too restrictive (after all, Mr. Hall’s relatives in the department are nephews, not his kids, and would be several layers below him in the chain of command).  If so we should have that discussion because, for now at least, I’m uncomfortable approving this waiver.



This contribution was made on Saturday, 22. August 2009 at 13:35 and was published under the category Coming events. You can follow comments on this entry through the RSS-Feed.

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  1. Pat,

    I am proud to read your blog, as you take the most careful considerations for upholding moral standards. I am glad you take a stand. I am more thrilled, however, that you carefully weigh the details on ISSUES not on party affiliation or political expectations.

    Keep up the great work in our community!


    Comment: Ragan Blanchard – 28. August 2009 @ 9:00 am

  2. Thank you for 1) keeping this blog- I appreciate the updates and candid posts and 2) thank you for following the law and not making exceptions when its convenient for those in power. The law was put in place for a reason, and i agree, if there is a problem with the law, then that is what should be addressed, not waivers.

    Comment: rachel – 01. September 2009 @ 10:02 am

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