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While in the US Army I was assigned to the Nike Hercules missile system, which had nuclear weapons capability.  During the years I spent with the Nike system, I was a member of the crews that prepared and enabled the missiles and warheads for launch.  As might be expected, the army was concerned about the caliber of the people who performed these duties and, to this end, established a Human Reliability Program (HRP). The basic premise of the HRP is that humans are fallible.  People who engage in certain conduct or have specific personality traits can’t be allowed to hold positions of nuclear responsibility.  Our medical records were flagged.  If anything was amiss, your security clearance was pulled and you were reassigned to non-tactical duties – such as peeling potatoes in the mess hall.  Diarrhea without an apparent physiological cause could cause one to lose a security clearance, as could illegal drug use and alcoholism.  A gambling problem had the same effect.  Consulting a psychiatrist put your clearance at risk.  Indebtedness was a concern.  Think Cold War – think the Soviet Union – think nuclear annihilation.  It was all about checks and balances.

What does this have to do with Skagway?  Everything.  Thankfully, working with nuclear weapons isn’t one of the duties of an assemblyman, though, because of the fiduciary responsibilities of the position, some degree of character is necessary.  Assemblyman Dan Henry chose to not file tax returns for eight consecutive years, pled guilty to tax evasion (NOTE: Henry did not plea guilty to tax evasion, but to filing in an untimely manner) and owes the federal government $600,000 plus penalties and interest.  As part of his plea deal, he also admitted that he falsified his Public Official Disclosure Form, something every assembly candidate or incumbent files with the Alaska Public Offices Commission.  By the standards of the US Army’s Human Reliability Program he could never obtain a security clearance and hold a position in a nuclear military.  Because he falsified his filings with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, he misrepresented himself to Skagway’s voters.  For both of these reasons he should not be allowed to hold a position on the assembly, much less as chair of the finance committee.

Dan Henry’s continued presence on the assembly and as chair of the finance committee compromises the financial integrity of the community.  For our elected officials to do nothing in the presence of such a threat is reckless and irresponsible.

I’m looking forward to the next Veteran’s Day dinner – will Dan Henry’s remarks be about civic responsibility?  Duty and obligation?  Integrity?  Honesty?

Roger Griffin