Citing his “vast experience,” City Manager Kim Kiefer said Monday that planning consultant Hal Hart will be the next permanent director of the Community Development Department.
Hart, a Bothell, Wash., resident whose resume includes planning and development work at the city, county and state level, was selected from among four finalists invited late last month to participate in a series of exercises and interviews at City Hall.
“We just felt, out of the four finalists, that he rose to the top,” Kiefer said.
Hart said he is “excited” to come to work in Juneau.
“I’m really pumped,” said Hart. “I was really impressed with the staff team, with everybody I met, including the other candidates … but I think what really impressed me was the sense of community I got when I was walking around, talking to local business owners and engaging people in the community.”
Hart won out over Lehi, Utah, planning commissioner Edward James; Juneau resident Katherine Eldemar, a member of Goldbelt, Inc.’s board of directors who briefly served on the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly last year; and Planning Manager Greg Chaney, a longtime CBJ employee who has been acting as CDD director since former director Dale Pernula’s departure in April.
Pernula left Juneau for a job in Mount Vernon, Wash., just an hour’s drive north of Bothell.
Kiefer said the decision to hire Hart should not reflect negatively on Chaney’s work at the CDD or on any of the other candidates.
“It does not diminish both what Greg provides for the department and what others brought to the table,” said Kiefer. “When we looked at it holistically, we felt that Hal was the best fit.”
Kiefer said Hart’s variety of experiences — particularly his work at both the city and county level, considering Juneau’s status as a consolidated city and borough — and obvious enthusiasm about working with staff earned him the nod.
“I think any time you have a variety of experiences in your past, it always gives you a leg up,” Kiefer said.
Hart said his “game plan” is to move to Juneau in late August. Until then, he said, he will be keeping an eye out for a place to live — preferably near a swimming pool, he added.
• Contact reporter Mark D. Miller at 523-2279 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.