Help wanted: city manager position vacant in Valdez
Council votes to not renew John Hozey’s contract as top city administrator
Valdez Star file photo
John Hozey at the March ribbon cutting ceremony for the new MRI facility at the city-owned hospital.
Valdez is looking for a new city manager.
The move came Monday night after the city council met in executive session to evaluate the city manager.
“Yes, late last night following an executive session, the (sic) City Council voted to terminate my employment as of 5 pm today,” John Hozey said in an email to the Valdez Star seeking comment. “This is entirely their prerogative and I respect their decision to go in a different direction. So I will be spending my last day doing my best to make the transition happen as smoothly as possible.”
Assistant city manager Todd Wegner has been named acting city manager according to a city press release. The council will also hold a special meeting Thursday night at 6 p.m. to decide how it will hire a new city manager.
Hozey, who was hired as the city’s top administrator in June of 2005, has been in the position of city manager since August 2005.
“Council decided to move the City of Valdez in a different direction,” Mayor Larry Weaver said after the council reconvened following the executive session. “At 10:15 p.m. on Monday, a vote of four to three ended the employment of the Valdez City Manager, Mr. John Hozey, effective 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday April 21, 2015.”
Executive sessions are closed to public and by Alaska statute, only allowed when elected bodies discuss matters which could cause financial harm or “on matters which could prejudice the reputation and character of any person.”
Council Member Ruth Knight made the motion terminate Hozey’s contract. The motion was seconded by council member Chris Moulton.
Mayor Larry Weaver and council members Mike Wells and Jim Shirrell voted against the motion. Council members Knight, Moulton, Dennis Fleming and Nate Smith formed a majority vote to terminate the contract.
Hozey’s email said the council’s actions were unexpected and he did not know if he and his family would stay on in Valdez in a different capacity.
“My family and I do not want to leave town, but this is all still very new and unexpected,” he said, “so we’re still trying to assimilate what it will mean for us.”
Hozey came to Valdez via Washington DC, where he was administrative director for the late Senator Ted Stevens from 2000-2005.
His first contract with Valdez paid him $90,000 per year with executive benefits. That later grew to $120,000 per year, plus a $600 monthly car allowance and 40 days of paid leave.
The severance pay package included in Hozey’s last contract calls for a lump sum payment equivalent to six months of pay, including the car allowance and leave accrual upon termination or nonrenewal of the contract.