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Shockley Comments On Council's Executive Sessions


The Unalaska City Council hasn’t announced why it has held a pair of closed-door sessions regarding the contract of City Manager Dave Martinson.

But some community members say he refused the council’s request that he discipline Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley.

KUCB's Laura Kraegel sat down with Shockley to hear her take on what’s happening at City Hall.  


KUCB: The council has held two executive sessions this month to discuss the manager’s contract. The mayor has confirmed this is not a routine contract review. Beyond that, officials haven’t really told the public what’s happening or why. What can you tell us about this situation and your involvement?

SHOCKLEY: As a private citizen, acting on my own time, I created a 10-question survey, attempting to assess the community’s level of satisfaction with our City Council. It was sent out anonymously. A council member was able to determine who had authored the survey. And I think the combination of the survey plus the authorship created some consternation amongst the council, which I think has contributed to some of the current uproar surrounding our city manager’s contract. Beyond that, it would really be up to him to address.

KUCB: For now, the city manager has declined to comment. Do you have any idea how the council determined that you published the anonymous survey?

SHOCKLEY: That’s a question I am not at liberty to answer right now.

KUCB: The council has cited the city’s privacy policy as the reason why this issue hasn’t been discussed more openly with the public. In your opinion, is there any other reason why these discussions are happening behind closed doors?

SHOCKLEY: I shouldn’t answer that question.

KUCB: In that vein, though, do you have concerns about losing your job or about the city manager losing his job?

SHOCKLEY: I would certainly be very concerned if we were to lose our city manager. As a citizen of the community, I think he has done a really good job.

KUCB: It’s unclear what’s going to happen next or if this issue has been resolved. The council has twice taken no action after coming out of executive session with the city attorney. Do you see this continuing? And if so, for how long?

SHOCKLEY: I really couldn’t begin to guess what the next stage might be in this process. In the years that I’ve paid close attention to what happens with our City Council and city managers, it’s not something I’ve seen before.

KUCB: Again, the council hasn’t said why it’s looking at the manager’s contract or whether your survey is related to these discussions. But at the most recent meeting, during public comments, several Unalaskans suggested the council may be violating the first amendment right to free speech. Do you think that’s fair to say?

SHOCKLEY: I think any questioning of our government is a fair thing for a community member to bring up. It’s one of the rights that we have as American citizens — to be able to question our governing body and ask them for some answers. And if first amendment rights are a concern among the community, I think it’s totally fair for them to ask the question.  

KUCB: What was your motivation to create the online survey?

SHOCKLEY: Personally, I have some concerns about the effectiveness of our current City Council. And primarily, I wanted to see whether that was a concern shared by other members of the community.

KUCB: And have you compiled the results of the survey?

SHOCKLEY: I do have results. Due to the way things have played out, they’re not something I intend to release. I think it would be inappropriate at this juncture to do so.  

KUCB: Before I let you go, Jennifer, is there anything else you’d like to say?

SHOCKLEY: I found it very gratifying to see the number of people who came to the meeting and participated in the meeting. I really hope that that kind of participation in the community continues. I think it’s a really good thing for community members to be involved in their government, to know what their government is doing, to ask questions about what they’re doing, and to be actively engaged.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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