The Kodiak Island Borough has been on the search for a new borough manager, and the borough assembly has narrowed the choices down to two finalists. It interviewed both candidates at a special work session Tuesday morning for roughly two hours each.
Jon Erickson went first. He currently serves as the city and borough manager in Yakutat and has a background in Alaska both professionally and personally. In his application letter, he writes that he’s spent most of the last 10 years working in Alaska, and he comes from a family with “pioneer roots” in the state.
During his interview, Erickson talked about his style of management.
“If I have employees that they can do their job, but they are not giving that extra, they will look at my work ethic and say I don’t put up with that. And if I work hard, if I work beyond my ability, if I am accomplishing things, it seems to be infections.”
The second candidate, Michael Powers, has served as city manager in several locations in California and been the city manager in King City, California since 2006. Assemblyman Frank Peterson pointed out Alaska’s large Native population and asked about Powers’ background working with federally recognized tribes. Powers mentioned several.
“I worked with the Karuk up in Happy Camp. In Siskiyou County, most of the cities didn’t and the tribes didn’t have full time staff, didn’t have a full time manager, so I helped out the Karuk tribe rewriting their personnel rules, some governance issues, most of that was what the few managers that were in the county we called the goodness of our heart type of work. We worked with the cities as well.”
Emergency preparedness also factored into the interviews. Assemblyman Larry LeDoux asked the applicants what they would do in the two weeks following an incident like last summer’s Twin Creeks Fire. Erickson spoke about consulting professionals.
“You’re gonna want to know what the damage is. Okay, this is what actually happened. So you’re gonna want me to try and either have eyes on the ground and get there and eyeball it and let you know this is what I see. You’re going to want as soon as possible, and I don’t know if two weeks is possible, to try to get professionals in to cruise it and determine if the timber is salvageable and so on.”
Powers also described a hands-on approach.
“Well, after two weeks, I would have been to the site at least a couple of times as would have staff. We would have a plan of attack with options of what to do both for the forest itself and anyone who might have been affected by that, and we would be making policy recommendations to the assembly of what to do.”
The assembly is scheduled to discuss its final selection for borough manager at its regular meeting on Thursday.