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

Assembly hires Ryan as manager at $96K


Following an hour-long executive session, the Haines Borough Assembly voted 4-2 on Dec. 29 to make facilities director Brad Ryan interim municipal manager at pay equivalent to $96,000 per year.

Members George Campbell and Diana Lapham were opposed.

Under terms of a letter of agreement, Ryan will continue to also perform functions of his facilities position.

In separate votes, both Campbell and Lapham voted against Ryan’s hire and his contract terms. They said that the borough had committed an oversight and violated its own code by failing to interview Ryan before offering him the job last month.

But Campbell also was critical of Ryan’s cover letter for the job and his lack of construction experience and noted that Ryan didn’t have a public administration degree, unlike the other finalist for the job, Deborah Schwartz, a 30-year airport executive from Little Rock, Ark. “I think we need to interview two people.”

The assembly’s personnel committee had shortlisted interim manager applicants to Schwartz and Ryan on Dec. 11.

Other members of the assembly Dec. 29, however, noted that Mayor Jan Hill and acting manager Julie Cozzi would be out of town in early January, and they wanted the position filled. A motion by member Tresham Gregg to interview Ryan the same evening hit a 3-3 deadlock when member Margaret Friedenauer joined Campbell and Lapham in opposition. It failed when Mayor Hill cast her tie-breaking vote against it.

“I think that we should prepare appropriate interview questions and not being doing it off the cuff,” Hill said.

Hill also broke a 3-3 tie, supporting a motion by Lapham to reconsider the assembly’s December action to offer Ryan the job. Lapham said, “We shouldn’t place a person in one of our highest government roles without an interview. That doesn’t make sense… I’d like to get to know Mr. Ryan some more. There are many questions I’d like to ask him.”

Member Mike Case joined Campbell and Lapham to support reconsideration, although he said his vote was only “to let people make their points. I want to hire Brad without further ado.”

Ryan, a local biologist who holds a PhD in environmental science and has served as an executive for area watershed councils, was hired as borough facilities director in late fall. He’s still in his probationary period for that position.

Also at the Dec. 29 meeting, the assembly agreed with a recommendation by acting manager Cozzi to hire the firm Brimeyer Fursman to provide executive searches for borough manager and police chief.

The assembly agreed to pay the firm $27,500 plus expenses not to exceed $10,000. Cozzi said she selected the firm over two other head-hunting companies that bid on the basis of cost. The two other bids were $30,000 and $33,000.

Deputy Mayor Lapham chaired the meeting at the request of Hill, who said she was on medication for a leg injury and didn’t feel up to it. Hill said she was well enough to vote on matters.


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