City manager search down to three, again

Persily decides to opt out of consideration

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009

The three finalists to head up city operations after City Manager Rod Swope steps down in April will be in town this week for evaluation exercises and additional interviews with the Juneau Assembly.

The public exercises will be held in Assembly chambers at City Hall on Monday from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday from 9:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Additionally, a reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in Assembly chambers for anyone interested in meeting the candidates.

The three finalists are David Johnston, former village administrator of Rantoul, Ill.; Dick Kline, a former city administrator for Vernonia, Ore.; and Bonnie Therrien, the current town manager for Wethersfield, Conn.

Larry Persily, a staffer for Rep. Mike Hawker, R-Anchorage, with local ties as former associate director of Gov. Sarah Palin's Washington, D.C., office, was thrown into the finalist pool last month when red flags in another finalist's past led to his removal from consideration.

Assembly screening committee member Jeff Bush said Persily had asked to be removed from consideration for the post a few days later to pursue other professional opportunities.

The target date for a final selection is March 2.

Swope's last day as city manager will be April 30. He announced in November that he would step down to avoid burnout and to take a break before finding something new to do. Swope has held the position since March 2003.

The city manager oversees about 700 employees and an annual core city budget of about $85 million. The city manager answers to the elected officials of the Juneau Assembly.

The search for Swope's replacement began in November with online job postings and direct mailings to administrators working in similar-sized cities. The postings advertised a negotiable salary that begins at $110,000. Swope earns $133,420.

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