Decorum Ordinance Coming Back for Reconsideration

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Jay Barrett/KMXT
The highly controversial decorum ordinance the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly passed last month will be coming back for reconsideration.
The request is being made by Assemblywoman Carol Austerman, who originally introduced the ordinance.
“We understand that people are concerned about the free speech. But the ordinance is really being interpreted in a way that we didn’t intend. I hope to be able to address those concerns through more conversation.”
There was an outpouring of anger from borough residents, and at least two threats of violence made against assembly members. A citizen-led effort to put an initiative on October’s ballot repealing the ordinance failed. The ordinance was derided as a way for the assembly to stifle open conversation at meetings, but Austerman says that was unintended.
“I’m really concerned about the amount of feedback that we’ve received over the last couple of weeks about the decorum ordinance. Our original intent of that ordinance was to protect the dignity of our borough employees. We’ve had some attacks to the staff that we were uncomfortable at public meetings. And so it was not to discourage input or public comment in any way. That wasn’t the intent of it.”
Austerman said she and Assemblyman Tuck Bonney will ask at Thursday’s assembly work session that the decorum ordinance be put on the agenda of next week’s assembly meeting for reconsideration. She added that public input on how to accomplish the dual goals of protecting borough employees from verbal attacks while not stifling public comment will be welcome.

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