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

Baskaya 'emergency hire' for development position


The Haines Borough has hired a “community and economic development special projects manager” to work for two months on tasks related to downtown revitalization and projects previously assigned to executive assistant to the manager Darsie Culbeck.

The “emergency hire” of seasonal Haines resident Christina Baskaya is only temporary, said manager David Sosa.

An emergency hire can occur without the otherwise required job postings and procedures with the consent of the manager and Mayor.

“We hired her as an emergency hire to fill the gap between now and when we have a full-time community and economic development director,” Sosa said.

Baskaya, of San Diego, Calif., worked as interim museum director for the Sheldon Museum last summer and currently is working as the community enhancement coordinator for the Alaska Arts Confluence. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

Baskaya will be responsible for working on projects related to community and economic development, including Picture Point, the sledding hill at Mount Riley Road and expanding trail systems.

Unlike the permanent community and economic development director, Baskaya will not have supervisory authority over the tourism, pool, parks and recreation, and community youth development departments.

Mayor Stephanie Scott, who signed off on the emergency hire, said Baskaya will help pick up slack left behind when executive assistant to the manager Darsie Culbeck left.

Last year, Culbeck’s job became a three-quarter time position at the recommendation of former manager Mark Earnest. The manager’s assistant position was created during Earnest’s tenure, when it was determined to be needed to cover the administrative workload.

Culbeck is currently working as camp manager for Constantine Metal Resources until the end of August.

“I have never been supportive of furloughing the so-called executive assistant,” Scott said. “I think it’s a needed position with needed work that needs to be done. I don’t think it can be divvied up. I don’t think (public facilities director Carlos Jimenez) has free time. I don’t think (Sosa) has free time.”

When previously asked what would happen to Culbeck’s projects when he left the borough in May, Sosa said the work would be divided among existing staff. “There is additional work for those staff members, but I think we will be able to address all those issues,” Sosa said.

Scott said she believes Sosa changed his mind and realized the additional work would overwhelm employees who are already busy.

“We actually have a very small staff and I think this will be really important,” Scott said.

Sosa said Baskaya will work for the borough 40 hours per week for $25 per hour. She will work for the borough for about 60 days, he said.

According to borough code, emergency hire employees can only work for a maximum of 30 days. However, the collective bargaining agreement with the Local 71 union states emergency hires can work for the borough for 60 days.

“I confirmed that the agreement with the union takes precedence – which surprised me – and went with 60 (days) for this,” Sosa said. “We need to get code and the agreement in concert with each other.”

Baskaya’s salary will be paid with remaining payroll funds from the current fiscal year and funds allocated to the community and economic development director for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.


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