Borough faces potential trouble stemming from discrimination claim

Nov 7, 2019

The Kenai Peninsula Borough may be facing potential new legal issues based on claims of discrimination. Local free-speech activist Carrie Henson spoke up at Tuesday night’s meeting, saying she felt she was snubbed by Mayor Charlie Pierce when he selected appointees for advisory planning commissions.
    Those appointees were confirmed by the assembly Tuesday night on the consent agenda.
    Henson said she was very interested in the Kalifornsky Advisory Planning Commission and was the first to apply.
    “I applied right away. And then I waited until after the deadline period and I called the planning department to ask them at that time what the status was, and they had told me that I was the only applicant at that time. So I was the first and only,” she said. “And then they went out, he said they were going to go out and try to get more applicants.”
    There are seven seats on the K-Beach APC, but only five were filled on Tuesday night, which surprised Henson.
    “A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the planning department and was just told that I was not appointed to the Advisory Planning Commission. So I assumed that meant that they have more than seven applicants. And it did not surprise me that if they had more than seven applicants, I would not get chosen,” Henson said. “But I find out tonight, that there was a total of six applicants and only five are appointed and two positions are vacant. And I feel that there's been some discrimination here. So I'm going to give this body until the next assembly meaning to fix the issue before I take action.”
    The next Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting will be on Dec. 3 in Soldotna.
    The borough has already lost one lawsuit brought on by the mayor’s actions, costing tax payers $150,000 in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
    Henson is best known for her role in forcing the borough to change its invocation policy and open it up to all faiths as part of the Last Frontier Freethinkers.