Assembly accepts Decker resignation

The borough assembly accepted the resignation of member Julie Decker at its Jan. 11 meeting. Decker has served on the assembly for seven years. Her letter of resignation explained she is stepping away from the position to grieve the loss of her two children.

Sig and Helen Decker, 21-years-old and 19-years-old, died in a car accident in Petersburg last July. The tragedy shocked the community, which came together to support the Deckers, to mourn, and to remember Sig and Helen. Decker said that she is stepping away from the assembly to spend more time with her husband and to focus on healing.

"During our darkest hour, Wrangell and others in our Alaska Fishing Family immediately stepped forward to help us survive what is the hardest challenge of our lives," Decker wrote. "For this, we will be eternally grateful. ... I am resigning from all of my volunteer board and committee positions in order to focus on the hard work of grieving in the coming years. Gig and I are different people now. We need time to heal as well as to better understand what our lives hold for us now."

Decker thanked the assembly and borough staff for the positive experience working alongside them. In her letter, she also encouraged assembly members to continue to be respectful of one another, even when disagreeing. Having a governing body that shows respectful discourse and honest effort to represent the community is not something to be taken for granted, she said.

"I know the assembly still has difficult decisions ahead of it," Decker wrote. "I appreciate your service at this difficult period, and that you are willing to put in the time to understand the facts and try to make the best decisions for us all. Good luck to you."

The assembly will appoint a resident to fill Decker's term until October. Letters of interest are due by 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26, and may be emailed to the borough clerk at clerk@wrangell.com.

In a heartfelt thank you for Decker's service, Mayor Steve Prysunka said he was sad to see her leave. She has been an asset in many areas of public service, he said, both on the assembly and the economic development committee. He also praised her for continuing to work and volunteer even after her family's tragedy.

"While she was going through everything she was still thinking about her community. Our heart collectively breaks for them, for Julie and Gig, and we'll always be there for them for sure. We just appreciate everything that she's given us over these years, and the time and commitment she's made not just to our community, but to the fishing community in an incredible way. Thank you, Julie."

Prysunka teared up and called for a five-minute recess before continuing the meeting.

 

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