Barbara Sheinberg, left, is sworn in by city attorney Amy Mead after a special meeting to vote Sheinberg to fill the open District 1 Assembly seat.

Barbara Sheinberg, left, is sworn in by city attorney Amy Mead after a special meeting to vote Sheinberg to fill the open District 1 Assembly seat.

Sheinberg awarded vacant seat

With a smile as bright as the sun that was just beginning to peak out from behind the clouds over downtown Juneau, Barbara Sheinberg took her seat at the table with seven other Assembly members (one was out of town).

It was about 9:10 a.m. Tuesday morning, and for the first time since former mayor Greg Fisk’s death in November, the Assembly was whole.

“I’m really excited about it,” Sheinberg said after the short meeting. “I was a little nervous when I saw all the other candidates who applied, but I’m excited to start work now.”

Moments before, the Assembly appointed Sheinberg to her temporary position — which will last “until the time at which she doesn’t have it,” Mayor Mary Becker said with a laugh — with a 6–1 vote. Assembly member Jerry Nankervis voiced the lone objection. It was Becker’s seat that was vacated when she stepped into the mayor’s role.

How long Sheinberg holds her seat depends entirely upon Becker. Should Becker decide to run for Mayor in the special election that will be held in March, Sheinberg will stay on until the next regular municipal election in October. Should Becker decide not to run and instead return to her former District 1 Assembly seat, Sheinberg will be out by March.

During Sheinberg’s interview with the Assembly Monday evening, Assembly member Karen Crane asked whether Sheinberg had any conflicts of interest that needed to be disclosed. Crane said she remembered that Sheinberg’s consulting firm, Sheinberg Associates, had been hired by the city before.

As it turns out, Sheinberg Associates currently has one contract with the city and is interested in bidding on two more. City Attorney Amy Mead is working to see if any of the contracts is cause for concern. At this time, however, she said she doesn’t know if Sheinberg has any conflicts of interest. Regardless, Mead said that Sheinberg will be capable of serving her term.

“We’re a small community, so everyone has a conflict at some point,” Mead said. “There are very few things in our code that prevent somebody from serving on the Assembly.”

Even if Mead determines that there are conflicts of interest, Sheinberg said this is nothing is nothing new. She served on the Planning Commission for five years, and she said she occasionally had to sit out when conflicts came up.

“I don’t think this will be the case now because I’m only serving for a few months, but if it comes up, I’ll just sit out,” Sheinberg said.

Though Nankervis didn’t speak to his objection during the meeting, he later told the Empire that he objected because he preferred another candidate instead.

“I thought we had a candidate more ready to hit the ground running and more qualified to fill the office,” Nankervis told the Empire after the meeting.

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