Local News

Gorman tops short list of administrator candidates

Sitkan Mark Gorman -- like all the semi-finalists -- interviewed in this round via videoconference. Deputy municipal clerk Sara Peterson and deputy mayor Pete Esquiro look on. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Sitkan Mark Gorman — like all the semi-finalists — interviewed in this round via videoconference. Deputy municipal clerk Sara Peterson and deputy mayor Pete Esquiro look on. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Following a second round of interviews yesterday afternoon and evening, the Sitka Assembly decided to invite former SEARHC vice-president Mark Gorman, Pamela Caskie, Jim Pascale, and Cynthia Gubatayao to advance to a final round of in-person interviews.

Gorman was selected by five of the seven assembly members for further consideration. Caskie, Pascale, and Gubatayao were each selected by four members.

The other local candidates for the job of city administrator received votes, but were ultimately dropped. They included Sitka businessman Rob Allen and his wife Robin Sherman, who applied as a team, and Sitka Schools superintendent Steve Bradshaw.

Allen and Sherman faced tough questioning about their proposal to administer Sitka jointly during their interview Tuesday (8-6-13). The assembly challenged Bradshaw’s capacity to separate his passion for education from other critical needs in the community. (See related story.)

The decision to drop Allen sparked lengthy debate — some of which occurred behind closed doors in executive session. Assembly members Matt Hunter, Thor Christianson, and Mayor Mim McConnell all expressed an interest in interviewing Allen as an individual candidate, rather than as a member of a husband-and-wife team.

Other members of the assembly thought that this was unfair, and would give Allen a so-called “second bite of the apple,” even though Allen and Sherman indicated during their initial interview that either would be willing to be considered separately for the job.

Matt Hunter and Mayor McConnell were most vocal in recommending a separate interview for Allen, as a duty to the public to make sure the assembly arrived at the best choice for administrator.

However, following an hour-long executive session, Allen’s name was dropped. Matt Hunter could not comment directly on what transpired in the executive session, but offered that the decision was based more on Allen’s experience than other factors.

The assembly will interview the four short-listed candidates in person sometime around August 23, with a public reception to follow.

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