New Kodiak Island Borough Manager Michael Powers says he’s been spending the last few weeks settling into his position and adjusting to the change of pace. He comes from a bigger city and one with shorter days.
“The hardest part of coming here has definitely been telling myself it’s time to go to bed even though the sun’s still in the sky. We moved here with my wife and our 4- year-old-son. We have six children. Logan is the last one at home, so we’ve been out and about, exploring the area.”
Powers comes from a public administration background. His last position was city manager in King City, California, and he says one of the first jobs of his career was working as a public works maintenance employee in Fireball, California – literally in the trenches.
“I mowed lawns and did water and sewer issues for ‘em, helped put in water lines, sewer lines, and because I’d taken a bunch of chemistry in college at that point, I did a lot of lab work in the sewer laboratory, so got to learn quite a lot about water and wastewater working there.”
Powers says he realized after taking several different positions he was interested in working in smaller communities.
“In small communities people make the difference. In larger communities people sometimes, especially the government employees, become somewhat of a cog in the machine, but at the local level, having employees who are passionate about the job and passionate about the community really does make a difference.”
It’s no small task to adjust to the needs of an entire borough. So far, Powers says he’s identified a few areas of improvement. He says he and staff will implement some changes to borough processes.
“One example being that we’ve lengthened out the time table for agenda setting with the mayor and the presiding officer to push that out to a four week window so staff can adequately prepare for meetings, which has been problematic in the past. I’m working on a 90-day report and will be meeting with the borough on that.”
The borough manager represents staff at Kodiak Island Borough Assembly regular meetings and gives staff reports as items come up. Powers participated in his first regular meeting as borough manager earlier this month.