Schnabel not applying for manager
Haines Borough Assembly member Debra Schnabel will not vie for the borough’s top job.
Schnabel had previously voiced her intention to apply for borough manager, but in a Sept. 30 email to the administration and other assembly members said she decided against it.
In an interview Friday, Schnabel said several factors influenced her decision, including a lack of municipal management experience, a perceived lack of support from fellow assembly members, and other opportunities.
“I know that members of the assembly did not appear to recognize or appreciate that I possess the skills. And when I looked at what I would want in a borough manager, we need somebody with a strong community development background, and I don’t have that,” Schnabel said.
Schnabel applied for the job when Earnest first submitted his resignation, which would have been effective June 15, 2012. The assembly and Mayor Stephanie Scott scored the top seven candidates using a matrix, and Schnabel ranked lowest of the seven.
“I lost confidence that I would be seriously considered,” she said.
Schnabel’s exclusion from the assembly-approved transition plan, which moves clerk Julie Cozzi into the interim manager position and deputy clerk Michelle Webb into Cozzi’s job, also seemed like a missed opportunity for the assembly to test her abilities as interim manager, Schnabel said.
Though Schnabel will earn a master of public administration degree in several months, she has never managed a municipality, which she knew assembly members would be weighing heavily in their decision.
“I saw the job advertisement stated that progressive experience in municipal management would be given the most consideration, and I knew I was going to be in a field of people who managed municipalities. That was a big issue for me,” she said.
Though community members approached her and encouraged her to apply for the job, Schnabel ultimately had to weigh where she would be best-seated: trying to defend herself as a competent candidate, or weighing in on and having a final say as to who would get the job.
“If I let people down by not applying, I feel badly,” she said.
Mayor Scott said she didn’t know why Schnabel decided not to try for the position. She said she didn’t offer Schnabel any advice or insight on the matter.
“I’m relieved that she can fully participate in the hire of the manager, because I have a lot of respect for her thought processes and her values. That’s an outcome that is a silver lining for us,” Scott said.
Assembly member Joanne Waterman said she was “surprised” Schnabel’s name didn’t appear on the list of candidates. When asked if she would have supported Schnabel as a candidate, Waterman said she didn’t know.
“I didn’t see her resume and I didn’t go through an interview with her,” Waterman said. “I really work at staying open to everyone.”
While Schnabel said she worked toward obtaining her master in public administration with the goal of applying for the manager position in mind, her decision to refrain isn’t going to radically reroute her path.
“It’s not like my life is over because I’m not applying for the manager’s job,” she said. “When I considered my alternatives, they didn’t seem all that bad.”