May 17, 2012 | Volume 42, No.20

Assistant manager job hire unclear

The Haines Borough is again advertising for a full-time executive assistant to the borough manager, and it was unclear this week whether the position would be filled before manager Mark Earnest’s departure next month.

Earnest, who has resigned effective June 15, previously told the Chilkat Valley News and the Haines Borough Assembly a decision on the executive assistant would wait until after the next manager started at the borough, to ensure compatibility.

The opening was advertised in March and then postponed indefinitely following submission of Earnest’s resignation. The job was re-posted May 11 on the borough website. The starting wage is $25 an hour, and applications are due 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 23.

“We are collecting applications for the executive assistant at this time because there is a need for the position to be filled for all of the reasons that have been previously given,” Earnest said Tuesday. “There is no set timeline as to when the position will be filled.”

Earnest did not directly answer a question e-mailed by a CVN reporter asking if the hire would be left to the new manager. The CVN query referred to local speculation that Earnest would fill the position before leaving his borough post.

“At this point, we are collecting applications,” Earnest wrote. “I am not going to engage in rumor mongering or speculation. There are too many important issues to focus on.”

An executive assistant is expected to cost the borough an estimated $81,000 annually as a permanent position with benefits. Some of the job’s main responsibilities are grant writing and administration, project planning and coordination.

A decision to delay hire of the executive assistant was apparent at the March 27 assembly meeting, when members discussed a transition plan that included appointing an interim manager and clerk from borough staff.

According to the minutes for that meeting, “Earnest said he does not intend to fill that position but will leave that to the new manager to make that decision.”