Unalaska police chief confirms investigation of city councilors

City Councilors Alejandro “Bong” Tungul, center, and Dave Gregory, right, acknowledged the investigation at the Oct. 24 meeting of the Unalaska City Council. Tungul said he’s received a warrant targeting his emails. (Photo by Berett Wilber/KUCB)

Members of the Unalaska City Council are under investigation.

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Police Chief Mike Holman confirmed Tuesday to KUCB that the Unalaska Department of Public Safety is investigating current and potentially former city councilors.

Holman declined to comment on the scope of the inquiry. But at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, former councilor Yudelka Leclere connected it to the ongoing controversy surrounding Deputy Police Chief Jennifer Shockley.

“Today, I can stand here and look at you, Officer Shockley,” Leclere said during public comments. “We never gave an order to fire you.”

Since August, the council has denied accusations that they pressured former city manager Dave Martinson to discipline Shockley for creating a survey asking Unalaskans to rate their satisfaction with each councilor.

When Martinson resigned last month, however, he cited long-term tension with the council that came to a head recently over a “personnel decision.” 

While it appears councilors are now under investigation for their roles in the power struggle, Councilor Dave Gregory said the extent of the probe is unclear.

“There’s an investigation of council members,” Gregory said. “Maybe it’s Roger (Rowland), maybe it’s me, maybe it’s Yudelka (Leclere), maybe it’s the other council members. We don’t know. We can’t get any information on it.”

Holman said the local Public Safety Department is “part” of the investigation, but he wouldn’t confirm whether other agencies are involved or comment on the timeline for completion.

The most specific information came from Councilor Alejandro “Bong” Tungul, who said an attorney has asked to review his emails.

“I’m being served a warrant on my computer, which I’m not happy about,” Tungul said.

A KUCB public information request for all August emails between the city manager, mayor and council was returned heavily redacted by the city attorney.

While the community awaits more information, the council has narrowly upheld a directive that could launch a counter-investigation.

At her last meeting in office, Leclere proposed hiring a third-party investigator to look into the matter.

Several current councilors argued the city should let the ongoing inquiry play out before taking any action. But others agreed an independent investigator is necessary, given the deputy police chief’s role in the incident.

“Since people who are in the Public Safety division are part of this, we need to get some outside assistance.” Councilor James Fitch said.

Councilors split 3-3 over the directive, leaving Mayor Frank Kelty to cast the tiebreaker vote. He pushed the motion forward, authorizing the interim city manager and city attorney to explore the possibility of contracting for a separate investigation.

The City Council’s next meeting is Nov. 14.

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Laura Kraegel covers Unalaska and the Aleutian Islands for KUCB . Originally from Chicago, she first came to Alaska to work at KNOM, reporting on Nome and the Bering Strait Region. (laura@kucb.org / 907.581.6700)

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