The Sitka assembly interviews administrator candidate Bryan Bertacchi via Skype last Wednesday (3-22-17.) Bertacchi had offered to serve both as administrator and utility director for 2 years, saving the city over $200,000. In an email withdrawing his application, Bertacchi described his interest in the process as “voluntary community service.” (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

The pool for Sitka’s new city administrator has narrowed from three to two. Utility Director Bryan Bertacchi has withdrawn from the process.

In an e-mail to the Sitka Assembly members around 4 p.m. this afternoon (03-27-17), Bertacchi said that his application was “structured as a voluntary community service, in an offer to support the Sitka that is my home and that I care for.” He added, “I feel I have accomplished my goal of volunteerism in this process and I would like to minimize any further distraction from your successful efforts by withdrawing my name for consideration.”

Two candidates remain: Sitka’s Fire Chief Dave Miller and Carey Meyer, the current public works director in Homer.

Mayor Matthew Hunter says he’d prefer more than two candidates for the next round of interviews, but the Assembly must confer as a whole first. Plus, he added, there’s no need to rush the process.

“We have Mark Gorman through June 15th. He’s expressed willingness to stay on longer if needed. But we also have a real depth in our bench if needed – department heads. We have many people who can step up and be acting administrator. The city will be in good hands through the summer I think, as we go through this process. So there’s no rush. The most critical thing is we get the right person for Sitka.”

KCAW News spoke to three other assembly members prior to deadline for this story. Two were in favor of re-opening the application process, and possibly reviewing the 48 applicants in the previous pool. One was comfortable moving ahead with just the two remaining candidates. There was no excitement about spending money to hire a recruitment firm, but one assembly member thought the idea should be investigated further.

The Assembly will decide the next course of action for hiring the new city administrator during their regular meeting tomorrow/today (03-28-17) at 6 p.m.