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Letter: Dinley used ‘inappropriate language’

Jim Dinley

Jim Dinley

The City of Sitka released more information Tuesday about the suspension of Municipal Administrator Jim Dinley.

On March 28, the Assembly voted to suspend Dinley for two weeks without pay in response to a city employee’s complaint. The suspension began Monday.

KCAW obtained a copy of the disciplinary letter placed in Dinley’s personnel file, under the city’s open records ordinance.

The letter says Dinley violated the city’s anti-harassment policy on two separate occasions. One involved remarks he made to an arbitrator in September of 2011. Another involved comments at a staff meeting in January. The letter does not elaborate on what he said.

Read the letter: Click for a PDF copy.

It does say Dinley’s conduct has created a potential liability to the City and Borough. And it admonishes him, reading in part: “As the Municipal Administrator, you are a key public official of the Municipality. You set the tone for the Municipality’s working environment, and should lead by example in speaking of and treating all persons in a consistently respectful and professional manner. The Assembly expects you to exercise better judgment in the future in regard to the language you use.”

According to the letter, Dinley was given the opportunity to write in response, but declined to do so.

Theresa Hillhouse was municipal attorney when the complaint was filed. Reached Tuesday at her new office in Anchorage, she declined to comment on any specifics. Current Municipal Attorney Robin Koutchak referred KCAW to Sara Heideman, the outside attorney who investigated the complaint for the city. Heideman did not respond in time for this story’s deadline.

The unpaid suspension lasts through April 12th. Dinley is scheduled to appear before the Assembly for his annual evaluation on April 16.

Jim Dinley has been municipal administrator in Sitka since 2008. He received a favorable evaluation in front of the Assembly in 2011, and his initial three-year contract was extended another three. He earns approximately $122,000 a year, and his current contract expires in 2014.

Prior to coming to Sitka, Dinley was city manager of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., a community of about 9,000 people just south of Chattanooga, Tenn.

 

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