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Administrator search: Who will sit at this desk?

Assembly members will meet Tuesday to discuss the 53 applicants for municipal administrator who hope to sit at this desk.

Assembly members will meet Tuesday to discuss the 53 applicants for municipal administrator who hope to sit at this desk. (KCAW photo by Ed Ronco)

The Sitka Assembly begins narrowing down the list of applicants for municipal administrator this week.

Assembly members meet Tuesday night at 5 p.m., one hour before their regular meeting, to consider which of 53 applicants will be given further attention. They’re hoping to narrow the list to five or 10 people.

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The applicants include Steve Bradshaw, Sitka’s current superintendent of schools, along with former municipal administrators from Petersburg and Thorne Bay.

Ketchikan’s deputy borough manager is on the list, along with former Sitka Assembly member Rob Allen and his wife, Robin Sherman. They have applied for the job as a team.

Applications came in from across Alaska, but also from across the nation, including Maine, Colorado, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida, New York, South Dakota, Kansas, South Carolina, Vermont, California, Utah, Georgia, Minnesota, Montana and Pennsylvania.

The experience varies, too. Some have been working in city government for decades. Others have military backgrounds, or experience in finance. Others have no experience in government or management whatsoever.

Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell says there are a lot of factors that she and the rest of the Assembly will consider in coming up with its short list.

“Some of it is facts,” McConnell said. “Do they have an MBA or MPA? Have they ever been an administrator? If so, what size community? But then there’s also this gut thing that happens.”

McConnell says for her, it’s important to know that the person hired can hit the ground running.

“We have a lot going on. It’s a big job for someone. I need to feel comfortable that whoever takes that on is up to that task.”

Assembly members are expected to take public comment on the list.

After the Assembly narrows the field, they’ll conduct phone interviews in early August. McConnell said they hope to offer the job to someone by Sept. 1 and have him or her (or him and her) report to work by early October.

The municipal administrator’s job has been vacant since Jim Dinley resigned in April. City Finance Director Jay Sweeney has served as interim administrator since Dinley’s departure. Sweeney is not one of the applicants.

The job pays about $125,000.

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