November 7, 2013 | Volume 43, Number 44

Assembly mulls last candidates standing

With one manager candidate clearly eliminated and one withdrawn from the race, the Haines Borough Assembly will decide Tuesday how it wants to proceed with the two remaining candidates.

In a Nov. 4 committee-of-the-whole meeting, most assembly members agreed they would like to invite David Sosa to visit Haines for an in-person interview. The group will vote on the issue Tuesday, and will also discuss whether to pursue more phone or Skype communication with candidate Susan Jensen.

Sosa has served in the Marine Corps. since 1992, and Jensen has worked as general manager for the Bayshore Owners Association in Anchorage since 2005.

Sosa isn’t available until April.

Finalist Jim Pascale, who emerged as an early favorite among some assembly members due to his 30-year stint as Princeton Township administrator, withdrew his application Sunday. “After careful consideration, I believe Haines and I would not be a good fit for one another,” Pascale wrote in a brief email to borough staff and officials.

At the committee-of-the-whole meeting, planning commissioner Rob Goldberg said he was “embarrassed” and “offended” by comments assembly members made about Pascale after his Skype interview Oct. 29. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why he withdrew his application,” Goldberg said.

“Maybe he would have been great, but we ran him off,” Goldberg added.

In an interview Wednesday, Pascale wouldn’t elaborate on what caused him to withdraw his candidacy. When asked if it had to do with how the Skype interview went or how the assembly failed to discuss the manager candidates behind closed doors, he said it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment on that.

“Any way Haines wants to pursue their recruitment effort is their prerogative and it’s not for me to pass any judgment,” Pascale said.

Assembly member George Campbell tried to move into executive session during Monday’s meeting, but was told by Mayor Stephanie Scott that such an action would be illegal during a committee meeting.

Assembly member Jerry Lapp said he is enthused about bringing candidate Sosa to Haines for an in-person interview, referring to Sosa as a “diamond in the rough.” Campbell and assembly member Diana Lapham agreed, saying they were eager to meet him.

Assembly member Debra Schnabel said while Sosa struck her as “personable” and a “team player,” she is concerned that he can’t start work in Haines until April. She suggested another Skype interview before investing in bringing Sosa up.

Assembly members Joanne Waterman and Dave Berry were absent for Monday’s committee -of-the-whole meeting.

Though the group didn’t appear to be thrilled with candidate Jensen’s interview, many members seemed ready to give her another chance. Mayor Stephanie Scott said she would call Jensen and schedule another Skype interview if Scott got the feeling Jensen was merely “having an off-day” during her initial interview.

The assembly also received a proposal from Juneau consultant Charla Brown, who offered to fine-tune a job description for the manager position and re-cast the net for more candidates. They decided to keep the proposal on the shelf as a back-up plan.