In case you missed it, Governor Walker’s men just voted to sell bonds to finance the PERS/TRS liability payments. We missed it too! We tried to listen in to the meeting held Sept 26 at 2:00pm but were unable to find a teleconference number to call. Here is the posting of the public record notice:
Our question: What is the purpose of a public notice for a meeting if the meeting is held in Juneau and there is no telephone number listed for call-in? Seems just like a square-filling exercise to meet the letter of the law to advertise Open Meetings–which in this case was not really open unless you had the secret decoder ring! https://bit.ly/2d1SiG5
AS 44.62.312. State Policy Regarding Meetings. https://bit.ly/2d1R9i1
(a) It is the policy of the state that
- (1) the governmental units mentioned in AS 44.62.310 (a) exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business;
- (2) it is the intent of the law that actions of those units be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly;
- (3) the people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them;
- (4) the people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know;
- (5) the people’s right to remain informed shall be protected so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created;
- (6) the use of teleconferencing under this chapter is for the convenience of the parties, the public, and the governmental units conducting the meetings.
- (b) AS 44.62.310 (c) and (d) shall be construed narrowly in order to effectuate the policy stated in (a) of this section and to avoid exemptions from open meeting requirements and unnecessary executive session
Note that “it is the intent of the law that actions of those units (government) be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly;”. All Alaskans need to ask Governor Walker and this commission to provide the audio minutes of the meeting. We all need to shine the light of transparency on our state government when it shuts us out. Here is the person to call and his contact number:
Deven Mitchell, 907-465-3750
When government plays loosely with Other People’s Money (in this case current and future teacher and government retirees), then that government should make the meetings as transparent as possible. By the way, state law says that if the State’s bond rating sinks to below AA-, then the State cannot sell pension obligation bonds. That explains the rush to sell these bonds. Teachers, government retirees and current workers, you should be alarmed at these goings-on. This is similar to you getting a second mortgage to pay off your credit cards or better yet, taking a trip to Korea to convince that nation’s leaders to buy into Governor Walker’s gas line. The governor may as well just take the $3.15 billion and go to Vegas and put it on a single roulette wheel number.
The Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on September 29th at the Anchorage LIO ( https://w3.legis.state.ak.us/#tab2). Check the link for updates and documents supporting/opposing POBs. What can the legislature do? What will the legislature do? Does anybody really care? This will only lead the state off the fiscal cliff even quicker.