Bethel city council to examine contracts and nepotism

by Ben Matheson on February 11, 2014

The Bethel City council will look into hiring a private investigator and consider changing the rules for employing relatives within the city.

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Again on the agenda is a discussion of hiring an private investigator to look into how the city deals with contracts and personnel issues. The council chewed through the issue for more than 2 hours in executive session two weeks ago, but came to no conclusion. The city has solicited names and rates for a couple Seattle-based investigators. One former FBI accountant charges 300 dollars an hour, plus expenses.

The council could address at least one contract that may have been part of the review. An action memorandum directs the administration to terminate a memorandum of understanding between the city and the firm of former Finance Bobby Sutton. He is the owner of Sutton Business Solutions. Rick Robb’s summary statement adds that any future agreement between the city and his company would have to be approved by the council.

A proposed change in municipal code would loosen the rules for hiring relatives. As it stands there can be no relatives of the city council or city manger. The change would allow relatives as long as there is no conflict of interest and no supervisory relationships.

The council will take up a proposed transfer the city’s wind energy grants, totaling over $3 million dollars to the Alaska Village Electric Coop. Another $99,000 budget move would allow for the repair of sunken seawall that is in too poor of condition to allow vessels to tie up, resulting in lost revenue for the city.

The agenda includes a presentation of three routes connecting the highway to Ptarmigan road. The council will hold a public hearing on an proposed change in the fees associated with smoking violations and licensing violations. The council could move to a flat fee systems and remove the language that would require a court appearance.

The council will present a proclamation in honor of Gene Peltola Senior.

The agenda includes an executive session for the city manager’s job review and a look into matters that could have an adverse effect on city finances. The Council will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. The public is invited to attend. The meeting will be aired live on 640 am and streamed at

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