When the Sitka Assembly meets tonight (11-23-21), it will likely go behind closed doors to discuss upcoming union contract negotiations. 

Every few years, the city negotiates its contracts with four different unions that represent its employees. The Public Safety Employees Association, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), and the Alaska State Employees Association (ASEA). The Assembly is expected to enter into executive session to discuss its strategy with outside legal counsel Kimberly Garrity and Finance Director Melissa Haley. All four negotiations are set to happen throughout next spring and summer. 

The Assembly will also consider replacing the city’s personnel policies handbook. According to a memo from City Administrator John Leach, the policy hasn’t seen any big changes since 2014. The Human Resources department has been working with the finance department to update the document, in part due to high turnover at city hall.

If approved, the new handbook would add Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a city holiday, add an “ethics and conflicts of interest” section, and would ensure that employees who are promoted temporarily to “acting” roles are paid more than the employees they supervise. The handbook would also eliminate a “volunteer” section, with the plan to release a separate handbook for city volunteers. 

The Sitka Assembly meets at 6 p.m. tonight. Raven News will broadcast the meeting live, following Alaska News Nightly.