Longtime Politicians Kelty, Rowland Honored For Service To City Of Unalaska

Oct 11, 2019

Mayor Frank Kelty (right) speaks at the Oct. 8 meeting of the Unalaska City Council. Both he and Councilor Roger Rowland (left) are leaving office after long tenures in local politics.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

Ceremonies comprised a good chunk of Tuesday's meeting of the City Council.

Councilors, city staffers, and community members delivered the biggest honors to Mayor Frank Kelty and Councilor Roger Rowland, two longtime local politicians who didn't seek reelection this year.

"I've had a great run," said Kelty. "Unalaska will always be my home."

Kelty is retiring to southern California after more than three decades of city service, including nine years as a city councilor, 12 years as a mayor, and 15 years as the city's natural resource analyst dedicated to fisheries issues.

He used some of his final remarks in office to reflect on how much Unalaska — and its infrastructure — have developed during his time on the island.

"It was like smoke signal days in the early 1970s here, and look at our community now," said Kelty. "We have one of the highest qualities of life in any town of our size. When people come out here and see a town of 5,000 people that has the facilities we have — the museum, the beautiful library, the City Hall building, [the Department of] Parks, Culture, and Recreation — it's just phenomenal."

Meanwhile, Rowland is leaving his council seat after 12 years. He and his wife plan to spend more time on commercial fishing and visiting family off-island.

"This is still our home, and we're planning to live here for the foreseeable future," Rowland said later in a phone call with KUCB. "But lately, I'm not in town as much as people deserve, so it seemed time to move on and let someone else take over."

In addition to thanking city employees for their work, Rowland encouraged Unalaskans to practice friendly politics — something the conservative councilor said he's tried to do with the left-leaning Kelty.

"Sometimes we were on opposite ends of a political issue, but we maintained our respect and our friendship for each other," said Rowland. "I want to drive that home: Ignore the stupid TV news shows you see of Washington D.C. That's a bunch of crock. You can have a friend, disagree with them politically, and keep the respect."

Runners from Unalaska's cross country team are recognized at the Oct. 8 meeting of the City Council. The team placed third at this year's state competition.
Credit Laura Kraegel/KUCB

City staffer Roger Deffendall was also honored at the council meeting, along with Unalaska's high school cross country team. Deffendall was recognized for 30 years of service with the Department of Public Works, while the Raiders received accolades for their third-place finish at the recent state competition.

"You've been a great employee for all these years," said Kelty to Deffendall. "I can remember some of the blizzards and snowstorms where you'd be out there on the road above and beyond the call of duty." 

The council's next meeting is Oct. 22. Mayor-Elect Vince Tutiakoff Sr. and Councilor-Elect Darin Nicholson will be sworn into office, replacing Kelty and Rowland, respectively.