Assembly offers Sosa manager's job
The Haines Borough Assembly voted during a special meeting Tuesday to offer its manager job to candidate David Sosa, a 20-year U.S. Marine Corps officer. He holds a master’s degree in public administration but has never worked for a municipality.
After a 30-minute closed-door session, the assembly voted unanimously to extend the job offer to Sosa and allow interim manager Julie Cozzi to initiate salary and contract negotiations.
The assembly also stipulated Sosa must either accept or reject the position by Dec. 31.
During a previous meeting, the assembly agreed to offer manager candidates no more than $100,000. Mayor Stephanie Scott confirmed after the meeting the parameter is still in place.
Sosa is not available to work until April.
Scott clarified negotiations will not begin until Sosa tentatively accepts the job. Assembly member George Campbell asked how Sosa could know whether he wanted the job without knowing the specifics of the contract, such as amount of leave time and salary.
“He would be accepting pending negotiations on the contract,” said assembly member Joanne Waterman. “He needs to signal to us he is willing to come into conversation.”
Before going into executive session, Cozzi and Scott took turns reading professional references provided by Sosa. The five references, all from fellow military men, were glowing.
None had a negative or cautionary word about Sosa; they referred to him as a leader with “superb interpersonal skills,” “a moral compass that points true north” and “an unbridled work ethic.”
“I would want David Sosa running the day-to-day operations of my town,” wrote Sgt. Major Joel Collins.
“Our loss with his departure will be your community’s gain if he is selected for the position,” echoed Col. Darrell Thacker.
They also assured Sosa would make a smooth transition from military to municipal leadership, as he has dealt with governmental agencies, budgeting and conflict resolution in the past.
Sosa’s one personal reference was college friend Karl Smolarz, who said Sosa most of all values integrity. Though he struggled with criticism from the media and college students when he was recruiting for the Marine Corps in northern California, Sosa managed to temper the situation, Smolarz said.
Assembly member Debra Schnabel also shared information provided by Sosa for the “community interface scenario”: an example of interactions Sosa has had with organizations outside of the military.
Sosa offered Janice Kight as a reference, the branch manager for the Family Advocacy Program at the Community Counseling Center in Jacksonville, N.C.
Sosa was appointed to the counseling center’s board last year and works for the Marine Corps tracking incidents related to domestic violence and child abuse. He works with community representatives, including those from Child Protective Services, the Department of Social Services, local police and hospitals.
Schnabel, who spoke with Kight, said Kight reported Sosa was understanding and sensitive. When asked if Sosa was ever rude, Kight said no, Schnabel reported.
Kight also said she understands people have concerns about military personnel and how they might act in civilian life, but said Sosa, in addition to “understanding his position,” is “adaptable,” “creative” and “resourceful.”
Sosa also holds a bachelor’s degree in political science. He has never lived in Alaska.