Dorothy “Brownie” Thompson was honored by the Sitka Assembly for her volunteer work maintaining Halibut Point State Recreation Area. (Emily Kwong/KCAW photo)

Assembly hires headhunter for new municipal administrator 

Mark Gorman’s last day is June 15th.  The Prothman Company, based in Washington, will find his replacement for $20,500 plus expenses. The whole process will be facilitated, starting with a meeting in May to build a profile of Sitka’s dream candidate, advertising throughout the Pacific Northwest, and ending with a hire in August

Until that time, the Assembly will have to choose an interim administrator. Chief Financial and Administrative Officer Jay Sweeney fulfilled that role in 2013, before Gorman took his post.

At their last regular meeting on April 25th, Assembly member Tristan Guevin listed the names of city staff he thinks would qualify this go-around. “Jay Sweeney, Maegan Bosak, Bryan Bertacchi, Dave Miller – any of those folks I’d be comfortable with in an interim position. But like Bob Potrzuski said, we don’t want to add anything to their plate. They have full time jobs,” Guevin said.

The Assembly could pull from an internal list within City Hall or ask citizens to come forward for the job.

When park lost funding, Thompson came to the rescue

Dorothy “Brownie” Thompson got a certificate of appreciation for her volunteer work at Halibut Point State Recreation area. The park lost state funding in 2015. Rather than let its maintenance  lapse, Thompson organized volunteers, created a reservations system, and spent countless hours picking up litter.

Smelly trash, be gone!

The Assembly rubber stamped new fines for stinky garbage that could invite bears. Garbage cans containing potential bear attractants must now be set out after 4 a.m. and retrieved no later than 8 p.m. Mayor Matthew Hunter anticipates the police won’t seek out offenders. Rather, they’ll slap a fine on someone if their trash draws a bear into the neighborhood.

The ordinance (Ord 2017-10) lowers the penalty for a first time offender to $50. For a second offense, it’s $100 and for a third offense, $200. Beyond that, the offender must appear in court.

As Sitka prepares for tourists, Assembly talks transport 

Halibut Point Marine wants to create a hop-on-hop-off shuttle service down Lincoln Street, that would stop at Harrigan Centennial Hall and Sitka National Historical Park. The Sitka Assembly liked the idea. But rather than go with Halibut Point Marine outright, they want to issue an RFP seeking a shuttle provider next year. Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a few merchants have expressed interest.

The Assembly also diverted $50,000 of the Commercial Passenger Excise Tax to completing the inside of the Sitka History Museum. The museum will not be charging an entrance fee, which was a question last meeting of Assembly member Steven Eisenbeisz.

Management changes afoot, for funds and figureheads

The Assembly also employed Alaska Permanent Capital Management to manage the city’s reserve operating funds, which total approximately $53 million. They’re the the firm took over management of the city’s permanent fund last year. Pleased with their performance, the Investment Committee decided to offer them a contract that paid 0.1% of the assets under management – an annual fee of $53,000. Sweeney told the Assembly that by hiring a professional, the city can manage those funds more responsibly. See the memo he wrote here: Motion and Memo investment contract

The group also reassigned liaison roles. Taking over for Assembly member Steven Eisenbeisz, Deputy Mayor Bob Potrzuski will start attending meetings of the Gary Paxton Industrial Park Board, while Assembly member Aaron Bean will liaise with the Southeast Economic Development Association.