Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Borough releases Lowe evaluation

 


A March performance evaluation of former Haines Borough police chief Gary Lowe released this week says Lowe maintained good relationships with the public and high-ranking borough employees while behind-the-scenes relations with department personnel were “abysmal.”

On a scale of 1 to 4, under “communication with employees,” Lowe received a “0” in “daily interaction,” “constructive feedback,” and “setting an example,” from borough manager Mark Earnest. He also received a “1” in “positive feedback.”

Earnest also graded Lowe a “0” in “overall supervisory abilities,” writing, “This is a major problem area.”

The CVN received a copy of Lowe’s evaluation Monday, more than three months after formally requesting it from the borough.

Earnest completed the evaluation March 26 and included a letter concluding Lowe was “no longer effectively able to lead the department.” The evaluation and letter were given to the assembly at its March 26 meeting.

On April 8, the assembly signed a “negotiated separation agreement” with Lowe giving him a $36,000 payout and $17,000 in paid leave in exchange for his resignation. The deal was negotiated by Earnest, Lowe and borough attorney Brooks Chandler.

In the letter, Earnest lauded Lowe’s “positive, calm demeanor when dealing with the public and other borough officers,” his skill “at keeping expenditures within budgetary constraints,” and his dependability, responsibility and punctuality.

“Those qualities unfortunately cannot overcome the near complete breakdown in your ability to effectively manage your staff,” Earnest wrote.

After conducting an investigation prompted by a complaint filed by a department employee, Earnest decided Lowe could no longer run the department.

“My conclusion is that you have ‘lost the locker room’ for a variety of reasons relating to your leadership style and the manner in which you have interacted with the employees of the department,” he wrote.

On the evaluation form, Earnest gave Lowe a “1” out of a possible “4” in the job duty category of serving as department personnel officer, making hiring recommendations, disciplining employees, completing performance evaluations and maintaining records.

“Chief Lowe has done an outstanding job recruiting the existing department personnel. However, there are significant morale issues affecting the department. I am not sure these can be remedied,” Earnest said.

In the “quality of relationships” and “attitudes” categories, Earnest was torn. “This one is difficult to evaluate,” he wrote under each category. “Chief Lowe has excellent tact and diplomacy with the public and other borough officers. However, relationships with most department personnel are currently abysmal.”

Lowe signed the evaluation March 26 and under the comments section wrote, “I don’t not agree with comments included in this evaluation.” However, at the March 26 assembly meeting, Lowe indicated he did not agree with the assessment, especially Earnest’s analysis that his interpersonal skills are “lacking to a point it is not recoverable.”