Petersburg will keep its elected harbor board.
As part of the transition to a borough government, the Assembly has been reviewing the work of all its advisory boards and committees and deciding whether they are still needed.
It was the Harbor Board’s turn during Monday’s Assembly meeting. Vessel owner Suzanne West spoke in support of the board on behalf of herself and Ed Wood.
“Both of us have spoken to various harbor advisory board members over time and it’s a more open, comfortable way to sort of air your grievances or approval of current things going on in the harbor and then it’s also a sounding so that the harbor advisory board member can let you know if your not tuned into whats correct or the latest. So, we support keeping that harbor advisory board. Because otherwise you may have tens and tens and tens of (vessel) owners coming to your meetings and speaking their piece.”
All those present on the assembly as well as borough department heads agreed the board she be retained, though Assemblyman John Hoag though it’s members be appointed rather than elected.
“I fully support keeping the harbor board. I question weather you want to keep it as an elected board. There are costs associated with this, having them on the ballot and I would suggest the alternative to this would be an advisory board. Its an advisory board to the assembly in any event so I don’t see a huge loss of quality coming from that board if you made it an appointed board.” :30
However, Assembly member Nancy Strand pointed out that the harbor board is one of the only boards that regularly has contested races:
“So as long as there is more people interested in being on the board than there are seats, I think that we should keep it elected” :08
According to Borough Clerk Kathy O’rear, the cost to put candidates on a regular election ballot is minimal, maybe a matter of a few cents. She said running for office was more of a hassle for the candidates than it is an expense for the borough.
The Assembly voted 5 to 1 to retain the Harbor Advisory Board as an 7-member, elected body. Hoag voted no and member Kurt Wholheter was out of town. During its next meeting on October 14, the Assembly will consider whether to retain the elected advisory boards for Parks and Recreation and Public Safety.