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City's new director of development eyes Juneau possibilities

Dale Pernula's experience includes historic preservation, small-town planning

Posted: Tuesday, October 09, 2001

It's too soon for new city Community Development Director Dale Pernula to say what direction he wants his department to take, but he has some ideas about programs he'd like to implement in Juneau.

Pernula, whose appointment was announced Monday, comes to Juneau from Moscow, Idaho, where he held the same position. Moscow has a population of about 21,300, according to city officials.

Juneau's Community Development Department regulates local development and provides staff support for the Juneau Planning Commission.

Though Pernula said it was too early to spotlight specific efforts, he said there are opportunities in Juneau to implement the type of projects he helped start in Idaho.

"We were very interested in historical preservation in Moscow and downtown revitalization," he said. "And we worked to create a stronger link between the downtown and the University of Idaho. I think there can be a lot of transference between what we did there and what we can do in Juneau."

Pernula said Moscow sponsored a large jazz festival every year. Although tourism is very important to Juneau, he said he admired the way the city has maintained its character and would like to see that continue.

He also said he is interested in the challenge a combined city and borough government would present.

Pernula was one of four candidates selected for the final round of interviews, which included a written test, exercises in problem solving and public speaking, and a formal interview with City Manager Dave Palmer and Deputy City Manager Donna Pierce.

Joan Wilkerson, city personnel director, said the interviewing process was designed to see how candidates fared in a "real world" situation.

"The beauty of this process was that we got to see the candidates in action and watch their behavior in a number of different settings," she said. "Dale was able to present the caliber of professional skills and presence for this position. And he displayed an ability to work in a cooperative kind of way. We think that's key."

Pernula begins work Nov. 12. Until then, he will be busy traveling between Idaho and Juneau, looking for a home for his family, which includes his wife, Michelle, and their 11-year-old son.

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Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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