Former municipal administrator Mark Gorman left his post in City Hall in June. Sitka is currently under the leadership of a Prothman temp, Phillip Messina. (KCAW file photo)

With the help of an executive search firm, the Sitka assembly has narrowed its list of administrator candidates to four.

In a special meeting Wednesday night (8-9-17), the assembly invited P. Keith Brady, David Fuqua, Delray “Lucky” Shulz, and Kim Zimmerman to visit Sitka next weekend for a series of in-person interviews.

Downloadable audio.

John Hodgson, with Prothman Associates, told the assembly that his firm had recruited about 20 prospects for Sitka’s top administrative position, and then had culled that group to seven semifinalists.

The assembly went behind closed doors for much of the meeting to discuss the candidates. When they emerged into public session after one hour and fifteen minutes with four names, member Tristan Guevin identified nine characteristics that he was looking for in a potential administrator.

“Looking at senior management experience. Were they the top official, were they a department head? Sort of that upper-level management experience. The number of employees they managed, the size of the budgets and the complexity of the programs that were managed, and trying to compare that to what we have in the City and Borough of Sitka. Second, looking at their experience and expertise with finances. We know that we have a complex financial system in our consolidated operating budget, our numerous investments portfolios. So someone who could clearly understand that complexity. Third, looking at municipal experience — have they worked in similar-sized communities? Again, the complexity of our city government with our enterprise funds and services we run — have they had similar experience overseeing those kinds of services or programs.”

The other six important criteria for Guevin were the candidate’s critical thinking skills, their ability to work well in a team setting, their potential for remaining in the job long-term, their research and interest in the community, their formal education, and whether they filled out the application completely.

The finalists have a range of backgrounds and interests. P. Keith Brady has been a county commissioner in Emery County, Utah, since 2015. He owns a motel in Green River, Utah, and lived a part of his youth in Alaska. David Fuqua has managed eight small cities in the last 23 years, mainly in Oklahoma and Kansas. He is a former police officer. Delray “Lucky” Schulz was chief of staff for Alaska State senator Fred Dyson from 2007 to 2009. Prior to that he worked in the state’s petroleum industry, and served in the US Air Force. Kim Zimmerman was the borough manager of Ridgeway, Pennsylvania from 2013 to 2016. He’s also a former military officer — Army — who is now attending college in Colorado for a degree in Gunsmithing.

The assembly invited their four top picks to travel to Sitka with their spouses or significant others for a public reception on the evening of Friday, August 18, and for two interview panels on Saturday, August 19: One before the assembly, and one before Sitka’s department heads. Both panels would be public.