Local News

Administrator suspended after personnel complaint

Jim Dinley

Jim Dinley (City of Sitka photo)

The Sitka Assembly suspended Municipal Administrator Jim Dinley for two weeks without pay, in response to a harassment complaint. The decision comes after nearly two months of investigation.

The Assembly spent more than an hour in executive session on Thursday night, then voted in open session on the suspension.

In February, the Assembly hired Anchorage attorney Sara Heideman to look into the complaint. Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell said the Assembly decided to suspend Dinley after hearing the results of Heideman’s investigation.

“In some respects it was difficult. This was, as it will come out, an anti-harassment issue, dealing with our policy that deals with anti-harassment,” McConnell said. “We needed to get all the facts and make sure that we were responding in an appropriate fashion.”

McConnell and city officials have declined to reveal the specifics of the complaint, or who filed it. When it came to light initially, McConnell told reporters that outside counsel was needed to look into the issue because then-city attorney Theresa Hillhouse was a witness to one of the incidents in question.

McConnell said Friday that it’s not known exactly how much money the outside attorney’s work will cost the city in total, but that the bill for February’s work was around $6,000.

Dinley was in his office on Friday — the suspension is effective starting Monday — and declined to comment or respond to the Assembly’s vote to suspend him.

He has been municipal administrator since 2008, and draws an annual salary of about $122,000. At his rate of pay, a two-week unpaid suspension equals roughly $4,700.

The Assembly voted 6-0 in favor of the suspension. Mike Reif was busy with Thursday’s herring fishery and did not attend the meeting.

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