Jusi will be Haines' new police officer, eventually
April 23, 2020
Haines dispatcher Max Jusi has been recommended to fill the vacant officer position on the police force. However, the next step in the process—the actual hiring—is on hold while the assembly considers a boroughwide hiring freeze.
A panel composed of borough staff including Celeste Grimes, Tim Holm, Josh Dryden and manager Debra Schnabel endorsed Jusi’s hire after interviews with Jusi and the other applicant for the job, Dave Ewald, a police officer in Arizona. The panel then forwarded its recommendation to police chief Heath Scott for approval.
Scott declined to comment on the hiring process.
Schnabel said it was a challenging decision for the panel. “We recognized that we had two strong candidates but that they were strong in different ways.”
Ewald has roughly 20 years of experience as an officer, including experience in Alaska, which would have saved the borough in training costs, Schnabel said. Jusi, who has worked for dispatch for four years, is a known quantity with local experience and respect in the community, she said.
In the end, it came down to the interview, Schnabel said. “Mr. Jusi demonstrated to the interview panel that he had the focus and the personal qualities that we were looking for to fill out the team.”
Schnabel reported the panel’s recommendation to the assembly on April 14 and said her intention had been to fill out the paperwork for the hire the following day. On April 15, assembly member Paul Rogers requested that a hiring freeze be put on the agenda for the next assembly meeting.
Rogers said under his proposed resolution, the manager would need to come before the assembly and make a case for any new hires. This would give the assembly the opportunity to assess hires on a case-by-case basis with an eye toward filling essential positions and postponing other hires until the borough’s economic situation improves.
Rogers said he believes police and emergency response services are among the borough’s highest responsibilities and that a case can be made for a fifth officer, especially given the need to respond to calls outside the townsite.
Schnabel said she will wait for the assembly’s decision on the proposed hiring freeze before moving forward.
The assembly will consider the hiring freeze at its April 28 regular meeting.