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

Personnel committee recommends more manager-assembly communication


October 8, 2020

The next Haines Borough manager will work more closely with and report more frequently to the assembly if members adopt changes approved by the Personnel Committee at a meeting Monday.

At the meeting, the three committee members, Stephanie Scott, Zephyr Sincerny and Paul Rogers, went over suggested changes for the borough manager’s job description in preparation for advertising the position. The changes discussed came from assembly members and borough staff.

Most of the substantive changes recommended by the Personnel Committee are designed to prevent another assembly-manager conflict like the one that led to manager Debra Schnabel’s firing in May by clarifying that the manager takes direction from the assembly and emphasizing the need for regular communication between the manager and assembly members.

“There were some areas where we were concerned,” Rogers said in an interview after the meeting. “One significant change is that the manager’s duties now include communicating ‘regularly with the assembly and Mayor regarding his/her actions and/or plans between assembly meetings so the assembly members are informed and have an opportunity for suggestions and feedback.’ There are examples in the past where this wasn’t done.”

One of assembly members’ complaints leading up to Schnabel’s firing was that she would take action without seeking assembly approval.

Another substantial change would require the new manager to have the ability to “recognize when assembly members may be in disagreement with the manager and seek assembly direction before taking action.”

“The burden would be on the manager to make a greater effort to keep assembly members informed about what’s going on if it’s significant,” Rogers said.

Prior to the job’s advertisement, Mayor Jan Hill will host an Oct. 22 town hall meeting to solicit community input on the manager’s role.


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