Recall election fails to oust Unalaska’s mayor

Preliminary election results show 177 Unalaskans voted “yes” to recalling Mayor Frank Kelty (center), while 286 voted “no.” (Photo by Berett Wilber/KUCB)

Unalaska’s mayor has survived a recall effort that accused him of misconduct and poor leadership.

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According to initial election results, 62 percent of voters supported Mayor Frank Kelty, who was waiting at City Hall when the polls closed Tuesday night.

“I was concerned that it would be pretty tight and maybe come down to the absentees,” Kelty said. “But it didn’t, and I want to thank the community for their support.”

Election officials counted the 463 ballots by hand after the voting machine jammed. Their tally showed 177 Unalaskans voted “yes” to recalling Kelty, while 286 voted “no.”

There are still 74 absentee and questioned ballots that must be canvassed Friday, but City Clerk Marjie Veeder said they won’t affect the final results.

Kelty will remain in office for the rest of his term, which expires in October of 2019. He said he’s glad the recall is finally over — for both himself and the community.

“I just hope that the animosity and anger go away and that we can work together for the betterment of Unalaska,” Kelty said.

Kelty said his first goal is to build a positive relationship with the new city manager.

The Unalaskans who sponsored the recall petition weren’t immediately available for comment. They had charged Kelty with pursuing an illegal dock agreement with the shipping company Matson, along with criticizing his leadership and respect for public process.