City manager candidates narrowed to 2

Kiefer, Custard to be considered to replace outgoing Rod Swope

Out of 25 candidates for the City and Borough of Juneau manager, two have been selected as finalists.

Deputy City Manager Kim Kiefer and Capt. Norman “Buddy” Custard of the U.S. Coast Guard were announced as accepted finalists Wednesday afternoon.

The Assembly deliberated in executive session at a committee meeting Monday night for more than 1 1/2 hours on narrowing the list from 25, but hadn’t clarified how many candidates remained.

Kiefer has worked with the city for 27 years, climbing through different departments and committees to her current slot at second-in-command.

She started as a parks and recreation supervisor, and later as the Zach Gordon Youth Center manager and recreation superintendent for that department until she became director for about seven years.

Kiefer became deputy city manager in 2006, and has worked in that capacity through now, although she also served as city manager when current manager Rod Swope took a leave of absence.

“I have a proven track record of financial conservatism and being able to make the difficult budget reduction decisions,” Kiefer said in her cover letter. “In addition, I have been effective in obtaining outside funding for CBJ projects. I fully understand this organization on a very personal as well as professional level, in particular the challenges facing the CBJ now and in the next several years.”

Kiefer has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon in recreation and park management.

Custard currently works as chief of staff for the U.S. Coast Guard’s District 17, which encompasses the Alaska region. He will be leaving active duty.

“I am eager to pursue new professional challenges as part of a vibrant community,” he wrote in his cover letter. “...Based on my extensive experience and strong commitment to my profession as a senior government official, I know I will add significant value to serving the community of Juneau.”

Custard has been in the U.S. Coast Guard since 1981.

Custard has a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife biology from Colorado State University and a Master of Arts in strategic studies from the Army War College in Carlisle, Penn.

“Both Captain Custard and Ms. Kiefer have distinguished careers in public sector service within the state of Alaska,” Bruce Botelho stated in a press release. “The two candidates we selected clearly stood out from the other applicants. The Assembly felt that both candidates possessed the background, experience, and commitment to the community required to be an outstanding City Manager.”

The Assembly will continue the hiring process in January, and will likely feature, at a minimum, an Assembly interview and public forum. The Assembly has yet to finalize the hiring process details and dates.

Swope is retiring on March 31, and the Assembly’s goal is to have a two-week overlap with the new manager and retiring manager.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at


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