Vote to recall Hoonah’s mayor appears to have failed

The city of Hoonah on May 2, 2019 (Photo by David Purdy, KTOO - Juneau)
The city of Hoonah on May 2, 2019. (David Purdy/KTOO)

A vote on whether to recall the mayor of the Southeast Alaska community of Hoonah, Gerald Byers, appears to have failed this week.

Results of the recall election — 110 votes for and 172 against — still need to be approved by the city council. The city clerk said that could happen on Feb. 7.

The grounds for the recall were claims that Byers had used an anti-Black slur against a city employee and harassed two Alaska Native elders during a city council meeting.

In an interview with KINY in September, Elijah Sheakley said Byers had twice directed racist language at him while he was at work. 

statement from Byers printed on the ballot quoted the Bible but did not refute or acknowledge the truth of the accusations.

“This recall isn’t about the charges anyway,” the statement read. “It’s about personal and special interest groups trying to run and divide our country.” 

The recall petition was approved by Hoonah City Clerk Jennifer Bidiman in September.

Hoonah is located about 40 air miles west of Juneau, and is home to roughly 900 people.

KTOO is our partner public media station in Juneau. Alaska Public Media collaborates with partners statewide to cover Alaska news.

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