In an executive session, the City Manager Selection Committee on Wednesday chose four finalists for Homer City Manager. All the finalists will be interviewed telephonically by the Homer City Council in a special meeting starting at 5 p.m. Monday in the Cowles Council Chambers, City Hall.
The finalists, in order of interviews, are:
• Jeffrey Trinker, executive director of support services, city of Rosenberg, Texas;
• Chris Johnson, former deputy executive director, Port of Anacortes, Anacortes, Wash.;
• Douglas Isaacson, former state representative, District 1, North Pole;
• Carey Meyer, Public Works Director, Homer.
Although Meyer lives in Homer, to keep the interviews fair and on the same level, he will be interviewed telephonically.
Interim City Manager Marvin Yoder currently serves in the job under a six-month appointment. Yoder did not apply for the permanent position.
Citizens can comment at the end of the interviews on Monday in the “comments of the audience” section of the meeting. Comment forms also will be available for people to make written comments.
Trinker has worked for the city of Rosenberg as executive director of support services since June 2013 and before that worked for the city as assistant economic development director since 2010. From 2008-10 he was a management assistant for the city of Sugarland, Texas. Trinker graduated in 2007 with a master of arts in political science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and with a bachelor of science in international affairs from Florida State University, Tallahassee.
Johnson was deputy executive director from 2012-14 and director of administration from 2007-12 for the Port of Anacortes, Wash. He graduated in 1998 with a masters of business administration from Western Washington University, Bellingham, and in 1993 with a bachelor of arts with a minor in international relations from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah.
Isaacson was a state representative for House District 1, North Pole, from 2013-15. He lost to Rep. Tammie Wilson in the Republican Party nomination last August after redistricting put both legislators in the same district, House District 3. From 2006-12 he was mayor of North Pole, which has a strong mayor-city manager form of executive administration. Before that he worked as president of Gold Coast Mortgage in Fairbanks. He graduated with a masters of divinity from Western Seminary, Portland, Ore., and with a bachelor of arts in linguistics from the University of Washington, Seattle. His resume does not list dates of graduation. He served as a Russian instructor in the U.S. Air Force from 1975-81.
Meyer is most familiar to Homer residents as the Public Works Director, a job he’s held since 1999. A professional engineer, Meyer previously worked as project engineer for HBE Corporation in Eagle, Colo., as a senior project engineer for Leedshill-Herkenhoff in Albuquerque, N.M., and associate vice president for Arctic Slope Consulting Group, Anchorage. He graduated in 2008 with a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alaska Juneau and in 1976 with a bachelor of science in civil engineering from the University of Missouri, Rolla.
Resumes for the applicants are available on the city of Homer website at www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/citycouncil/city-manager-finalists-announced.
On its Monday meeting agenda is a motion for the council to meet in executive session after the telephonic interviews and public comments. The City Manager Selection Committee met in executive session on Wednesday to discuss candidates and make its selection.
Alaska’s Open Meetings Act, AS 44.62.310 (b), says “Action may not be taken at an executive session, except to give direction to an attorney or labor negotiator regarding the handling of a specific legal matter or pending labor negotiations.”
After the Jan. 14 City Manager Selection Committee meeting, City Clerk Jo Johnson sought advice from City Attorney Thomas Klinkner on if the deliberations on city manager candidates could be held in executive session. In a memo, Klinkner wrote that the council could meet in public session for the entire city manager selection process. Klinkner advised that the council could meet in executive session “to consider ‘subjects that tend to prejudice the reputation and character of any person, provided the person may request a public discussion.’ The Council may elect to meet in executive session to discuss the merits of city manager candidates under this authority.”
If the council did meet in executive session, it must notify the city manager candidates that it intends to do so, and if the candidate requests a public session, the discussion would be in public, Klinkner said in the memo.
Klinkner’s advice does not strictly follow a 1982 Alaska Supreme Court decision, City of Kenai v. Kenai Peninsula Newspapers and Municipality of Anchorage v. Anchorage Daily News. In the Kenai Peninsula Newspapers decision, the Peninsula Clarion sought to make discussion of city manager applicants public. The Alaska Supreme Court found that “an applicant’s reputation will not be damaged by a public discussion of his or her qualifications relating to experience, education and background or by a comparison of them with those of other candidates.” The court did say there was a risk that a discussion “of personal characteristics and habits may well carry a risk that the applicant’s reputation will be compromised” and found that under its interpretation of the Open Meetings Act the Kenai City Council could “meet in executive session while discussing the personal characteristics of the applicants.”
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.