The Kodiak Island Borough manager is retiring from the position next year, and the borough is beginning the process to find another manager.
Manager Bud Cassidy’s contract ends in mid-January 2016, but he has offered the assembly the option to extend the contract until the end of June 2016 to provide overlap with a new manager.
The assembly disagreed on whether to have borough staff begin advertising for a manager right away or wait awhile and whether or not to extend Cassidy’s contract.
The assembly was worried both about advertising too soon and not getting a lot of applicants and waiting to long and having the search take an extended period of time, as it did when the borough sought to hire a manager in 2012.
“Right now, I do have concerns about locking us into a course of action that has very real financial consequences when we haven’t even placed the ad yet, we just don’t know if we’ll get a strong response or a weak response,” said assembly member Rebecca Skinner. “We’re assuming this is going to take a very long time and we’re going to have a weak response, and again, to me it’s just premature to lock in the contract extension.”
“I think if we extend the contract tonight, we’re essentially advertising a year ahead for a position if we go until essentially June,” said assembly member Larry LeDoux. “Many people aren’t ready to look at new jobs that far in advance, and so our pool is going to be a lot smaller the more we extend when they step into the position from when they decide to apply for the position.”
Assembly member Carol Austerman wanted to approve the contract extension and put off looking for a new manager for several more months.
“If you are such a great borough manager, which I think you are, and I wouldn’t want to see you leave any earlier than you need to leave, then I would like to see us pass extending your contract and potentially fail providing direction to staff to start searching for your replacement so early,” Austerman said. “That’s going to be my votes tonight that if the overall concern is that we’re starting to advertise too early, then I think that the decision should be that we wait a little bit longer to advertise, if that’s the assembly’s concern, rather than not extend the contract of an excellent borough manager.”
The assembly ultimately postponed the decision on the contract extension until the next regular meeting to give them time to get more information, and directed staff to being the process of seeking a new manager.
The assembly also approved the clerk’s employment contract with a slight increase in benefits and a decrease in pay.
“This is not meant to reflect poorly on the clerk’s job performance or anything of that nature,” said assembly member Dan Rohrer, who helped negotiate the contract. “Due to a series of interesting circumstances, her contract actually stated that she would continue to receive step increases each year and what that did was that put her on a step that was above any other salary steps that are allowed with our current personal situation.”
Other situations with leave time and severance pay were changed to “work towards making the clerk’s contract more similar and more consistent with what the personal manual has so that we didn’t end up with significantly different contracts,” Rohrer said.
Julie Herrmann is a staff reporter at the Kodiak Daily Mirror. Contact her at 486-3227 ext. 627.