Homer City Manager Walt Wrede will not seek renewal of his employment contract. In a letter sent to Mayor Beth Wythe and Homer City Council members on Thursday, Wrede gave his three-month notice saying he did not intend to work past the end of his contract on Dec. 31.
“This has been a difficult decision to make for a variety of reasons,” Wrede wrote in his resignation letter. “I have truly enjoyed my time in Homer. I believe we have accomplished a lot together over the past 12 years. I am proud of that and I hope you are as well. I really appreciate all of the support I have received from the council and the community at large.”
In his letter, Wrede, 61 said that while he enjoyed working as city manager, he felt the time was right to make a break. Wrede also wrote that his wife, Mary McBurney, had accepted a new job in Anchorage which will require her to spend most of her time there.
“We have spent a lot of time apart over the past two decades because of the requirements of our jobs,” Wrede wrote. “At this point in our lives, we don’t want to do that anymore.”
Wrede started his first contract as city manager in February 2003 and was hired after the late Ron Drathman resigned. He was chosen from an initial list of 30 applicants and a short list of three. Before coming to Homer, Wrede had been borough manager of the Lake and Peninsula Borough in King Salmon and in private practice as a political consultant in government affairs. He also had worked as Cordova City Planner, community development planner for the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association and as an adjunct professor for the University of Alaska Anchorage. Born in Pennsylvania, he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Monmouth College, New Jersey, and a master’s degree at the University of Washington at Pullman. He came to Alaska in 1980.
Wrede praised the community in his letter.
“Any success I might have had over the years I owe entirely to the council, the staff and the people of Homer. I can’t thank the council and the town enough for giving me this opportunity,” he wrote. “It was a privilege to work for you. I leave with a deep fondness for this community and I wish the council and the town nothing but the best in the future.”
Wrede told the mayor and council he will do whatever he can to help the city with the transition and recruitment of a new city manager. He also said he intends to complete some major pending projects. One major project Wrede and the council need to finish before the end of the year is setting and approving a budget.
A full story will follow in the Oct. 2 Homer News, available in print or online at www.homernews.com.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.