Municipal Clerk Sara Peterson swears in new assembly member Tim Pike at the October 25 meeting. Pike will serve in his appointed role on the assembly until the next municipal election.

A high school vocational instructor has been chosen to fill a vacancy on the Sitka Assembly for one year. Tim Pike comes to the table with years experience teaching at Sitka High School and leadership of the local teachers union.  

Pike’s appointment Tuesday night (10-25-22) came after two rounds of voting by the assembly, some of whose members initially favored other candidates. Their task was to replace member Dave Miller, who resigned earlier this month, with two years left on his term. Four people applied to replace him, including former assembly members Richard Wein and Benjamin Miyasato, along with Carol Voisin, and Pike.

Sitka High School American Government teacher Howard Wayne put his support behind Pike. He said Pike, who teaches Career and Technical Education at the high school, was the right person to help guide plans to build a marine haulout at the Gary Paxton Industrial Park in its early stages.  

“He…knows, intimately, the details of a lot of these jobs that would be starting out there at a haulout facility or shipbuilding facility. And it just seems like it’s too important to have a real optimistic person that could help guide this project,” said Wayne.

“I was excited to see that he put his name forward,” he continued. “I have voted for him on many occasions as an educator, he’s represented me and my colleagues over the years many times, and I find him respectful, incredibly creative, very, very thoughtful. He does his homework. I mean, he’s somebody that when he speaks, he has put a lot of thought into what he’s going to say.”

Mayor Steven Eisenbeisz agreed.

“Number one, I find him to be a problem solver,” said Mayor Steven Eisenbeisz of Pike. “I think this assembly needs that. Number two, I find that he has a vast amount of knowledge, and he speaks with few words. And when he does speak those words carry impact, and I’m appreciative of that and I’ve been at appreciative that for many years working with him on school board level issues.”

But it quickly became clear that the assembly would split its vote on Miller’s replacement. Crystal Duncan said she’d support Carol Voisin, who provided the most detailed letter of interest. 

“I saw the letter of interest as an opportunity to sell why that seat belongs to you,” Duncan said. “And so based off of that, new to the community, but involved in the community, I think I’m going to support Carol in this first round of votes, just because she detailed out three pages of what she’s seen at the table, what she brings to the table.”

And Rebecca Himschoot said she put together a rubric and scored each candidate- her top scorer was Ben Miyasato.

“I’ve worked with Tim [Pike] a lot more. And I would like to see him on this body, if not now another time. I think that he will be a real asset to the community. But my top score went to Ben Miyasato, and part of that had to do with the diversity of experience he would bring, and the fact that he’s a prior assembly member, so he can hit the ground running.” 

There was also some public support for former assembly member Richard Wein who ran for one of two open seats in early October but placed third with just over 900 votes. 

The assembly’s first vote wasn’t conclusive- Himschoot voted for Miyasato, Duncan for Voisin, and Chris Ystad for Richard Wein. Eisenbeisz, Kevin Mosher and Thor Christianson each voted for Pike. The second time around, Duncan and Ystad switched their votes to Pike, but Himschoot’s vote remained the same.

With five votes, Pike was affirmed as Sitka’s newest assembly member, and municipal clerk Sara Peterson immediately administered the oath of office. 

Pike didn’t comment on his appointment at the meeting. He’ll serve in his appointed role on the assembly until next October’s municipal election. Then voters will decide who will finish the final year of Miller’s term.