Current municipal administrator Mark Gorman will leave his post in City Hall this June. (KCAW file photo)

The Sitka Assembly held evaluations for it’s two employees Tuesday (04-18-17): City Administrator Mark Gorman and City Attorney Brian Hanson. And while it was the first review for Hanson and the last for Gorman, both city staffers received exemplary marks.

Downloadable audio.

Crowded around a conference table, nibbling on tacos, the Sitka Assembly gathered for the fourth and final time to evaluate City Administrator Mark Gorman. It wasn’t so much a chance to offer criticism or praise, but to reflect on his term as a whole.

Kevin Knox: Your tenure here I think was quite successful.

Aaron Swanson: And I hope that it’s a peaceful transition for you.

Bob Potrzuski: Whenever I think of you, I think of two words: public service. Nationally, internationally, locally. You have dedicated yourself to other people. And that’s been your whole life.

Tristan Guevin thanked Gorman specifically for his leadership during the August 2015 landslides, initiation of the Citizens’ Task Force, and comprehensive planning across various departments.

Steven Eisenbeisz commented that four years is an appreciable amount of service, given the demands and pressures of the job. “At some point, even in our careers, you’ve eventually made so many decisions against different special interest groups that you’ve eventually made the whole town mad in one way or another. I’m sure I will get to that point if I’m not already there.”

Gorman thanked the Assembly for their comments, saying they were very kind. In an interview with press afterward, he had these words for his successor: “Try not to take it personally. Because you are going to disappoint. And rejoice in the fact that you are serving a remarkable community.” 

Mark Gorman’s last day is June 15th. He and his wife Nancy will then head to Myanmar to help establish a 24-bed teaching hospital with a Canadian NGO, Global Neighbors. Prior to his hire as city administrator, Gorman was working in Laos and is a former administrator at SEARHC.

While Gorman’s evaluation was held in public, the Assembly went into executive session for City Attorney Brian Hanson.

Hanson was hired seven months ago at a $125,000 starting salary. After nearly an hour behind closed doors, the Assembly unanimously agreed to grant Hanson a raise of $135,000, which was written into his contract after a year of service. Several commented that Hanson deserved the bump. 

Steven Eisenbeisz: I think we really hit a home run with this attorney. I hope that this once annual evaluation turns into many, many annual evaluations.

Kevin Knox: Over the seven months that Brian has sat in that chair, he’s actually saved the city quite a bit of money in not contracting out his services. He’s gone above and beyond.

The city is seeking a new administrator to fill Gorman’s shoes. After conducting final interviews with Sitka’s former police chief Sheldon Schmitt and Homer Public Works Director Carey Meyer on Wednesday (04-19-17), the Assembly opted to turn down both candidates and hire a recruiting firm.