This week, the Haines Assembly offered an apology to two residents who were temporarily banned from borough offices last summer.
In June, former manager Bill Seward asked police to issue a ‘no trespass’ order against residents Paul Nelson and Sue Waterhouse. Seward told the Chilkat Valley News at the time that Nelson and Waterhouse had acted in a ‘bullying’ manner toward former planning technician Tracy Cui.
Nelson and Waterhouse said Seward’s action violated their constitutional rights and they demanded a public apology.
About 10 months later, they got one.
“Paul, on behalf of the assembly, I apologize for the borough’s actions last June when you were embarrassed and escorted out of the office and all the things that entailed after that,” said Assemblyman Ron Jackson. “I’m sorry we did that.”
Jackson took up the matter after Assembly member Mike Case resigned a couple weeks ago. Case had been planning to make a motion to apologize to Nelson and Waterhouse.
Jackson said former manager Seward’s reaction was too extreme.
“[It was] inappropriate for our small town,” Jackson said. “It created an unfriendly feel in the borough administration for a while.”
There was some hesitation from a couple assembly members. Tom Morphet said the borough lawyer advised that an apology could be seen as an admission of guilt and open the borough to legal action.
Assembly member Margaret Friedenauer asked Nelson about that.
“If we offer a verbal apology right now, are you going to sue the borough under this action in the future?” Friedenauer asked.
“Not on this action, no,” Nelson responded.
Although Friedenauer and Morphet both expressed some discomfort with the apology, the assembly unanimously supported it.