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Empire editorial: A good start

Posted: October 23, 2011 - 12:07am

Change is inevitable in local politics, but Juneau’s Assembly has more than the usual number of new faces following the earlier appointments to temporarily fill vacancies and again with this month’s elections. It seems Assembly members new and experienced are not wasting any time getting down to business, and that’s good.

Recent discussion at the Assembly retreat last week indicated the new members have jumped right in, and that the body as a whole seems to be approaching replacement of retiring City Manager Rod Swope in a thoughtful manner. Of all the challenges facing the Assembly, choosing a leader to guide the city through projected revenue shortfalls is a pressing concern.

We think the Assembly is correct in thinking about recruiting both locally and statewide — it is best to find a candidate who wants to stick around and already is familiar with Alaska’s weather patterns and prices.

Looking locally and statewide is important to get a good pool of prospects from which to compare and contrast — and may the most qualified candidate earn the opportunity.

Whether they choose an existing employee or bring in new blood we feel confident the Assembly members will examine all options and move cautiously when making the choice.

The board has already benefitted from the return of Randy Wanamaker, who was present the last time Swope tried to retire and noted the Assembly seated back then drafted a document outlining how the body might proceed when a manager search was again needed. While the Assembly need not be constrained by the document, it’s good to have that kind of background available.

To Wanamaker, Jesse Kiehl and Carlton Smith we offer congratulations on winning a seat on this very important panel at this crucial time in Juneau’s history.

We also offer our thanks to those who ran but did not get elected, as that takes courage and commitment to our community.

Now it is time for the Assembly to tackle all those pressing issues that were raised in the campaign, from our longtime housing shortage to managing our landfill and balancing the budget. We’re happy to see the body did not seem to break stride as Assembly seats changed owners.

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