Nome Common Council ok’s hire of NPD investigator

The Nome Common Council in its regular session on Monday night passed resolutions for the hire of a Nome Police Department investigator and to hire an addtional communications officer. City Manager Glenn Steckman explained the hire of investigator Scott Weaver who will be starting at higher scale salary, with $5,000 moving cost reimbursement. Why so? asked Councilwoman Jennifer Reader. “In order to entice him, we had to pay him a bit more,” said Interim Mayor John Handeland. Steckman said that NPD is in need of an investigator to handle the backlog of older cases and that some applicants didn’t even pass background checks.
In other business, the Council passed a resolution to award a contract to Nome Machine Works for the city’s vehicles repair and maintenance. Councilman Doug Johnson entered into the record that the business belongs to his brother. Mayor Handeland allowed to include his vote since Johnson does not personally benefit from his brother’s business. An ordinance to authorize the sale of three pieces of city property went into first reading. The sale is to be done by sealed bid. Two properties are located at Prospect Place and  one is located at East King Place.The second reading will take place on Sept. 14.
In the City Manager’s report Glenn Steckman said that the deadline of the City’s second tranche of grants via the AK CARES Act garnered 59 grant applications totalling $378,000 of the $650,000 that were allocated to be given out.
Steckman also reported that the 2020 Census count is leaving residents of the City of Nome underreported. Only 34. 2 percent of the residents have been counted. He said the issue is that enumerators are not going house to house and the city works with NJUS and the school district to put out flyers to the community in order to encourage people to be counted either online or via telephone. An undercount of the city’s residents will mean the loss of thousands and thousands of federal dollars. The Council discussed ideas how to encourage people to participate in the census. Since the census is a federal responsibility, it was unclear how the City could assist in the effort. Councilmembers discussed whether or not to use COVID-19 funds to help the count, but Councilmembers Jennifer Reader and Adam Martinson did not see where the census effort would fit into federal spending guidelines of the CARES Act money. The manager was tasked to look for funding to help with the census count which officially is to be wrapped up by the end of September.
In Councilmembers’ comments Reader brought up the threat to bypass mail and suggested that the city’s Washington D.C. lobbyist keep an eye on the matter.

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