Deputy city manager latest high municipal official to resign

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2002

Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce said today she plans to resign from the city, effective July 1.

City Manager Dave Palmer has said previously that he will resign at the end of the city's fiscal year. The moves will leave a gap in the city's upper-level management.

Pierce has been Juneau's deputy city manager for the past 11 years and has worked for the city for the last 20 years.

"I think it's a real transitional time, obviously, with Dave leaving. I remain committed to the well-being of the city," she said. "I've been in a stressful spot for a really long time, and it's time to do something different."

Pierce, 51, began working for the city's library in 1981 and was library director from 1986 to 1991. She became the deputy city manager in 1991 and served as acting manager several times. She said her decision isn't related to politics.

"Like you, I believe there is an art to knowing the right time to move on," she wrote in a letter to Palmer. "Also, it has become very apparent that I need to take some immediate steps to reduce job-related stress and, further, tend to my long-term health.

"This certainly affects the timing of this decision. I'm looking forward to having more personal and family time, and of course, to new opportunities to serve the community of Juneau."

Pierce said she and Palmer will work with the city's staff and the Juneau Assembly to assure things are in order before they leave. Finishing the city's long-range tourism plan in the next few months will be important, Pierce said. She plans to stay in Juneau.

"We have a good staff. They're well-positioned to move things into the future," she said. "They'll be fine."

In other city management changes this spring, longtime Public Works Director Ernie Mueller said he will retire at the end of the month. He will be replaced by Joe Buck, chief engineer for the city's architectural division. Police Chief Mel Personett also plans to step down. Former Police Chief Richard Gummow will take his place in June.

A Juneau Assembly subcommittee that formed to find a new city manager is scheduled to meet at noon Friday. The city manager is responsible for finding a new deputy manager, but Pierce said the decision may be left to the new city manager.

Joanna Markell can be reached at

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