The Valdez Star - Serving Prince William Sound and Copper River Basin

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

New city manager search begins on June 1

Firm hired by council will visit Valdez early next month


Valdez Star file photo

Todd Wegner, acting city manager.

Representatives of the firm hired by the Valdez City Council to help find a new city manager are coming to Valdez in June.

On May 4, council members approved a $26,875 contract with executive recruitment firm

Slavin Management Consultants to help find a new city manager. The contract has been signed and city officials say it is now time to begin the process.

"They (Slavin) now want to move forward with step one," City clerk Sheri Pierce told council members during Monday night's regular council meeting.

That means representatives of the company - including its president Robert Slavin – will be traveling to Valdez beginning June 1 to meet with council, city staff and administrators to get a feel for what Valdez is all about as a city and learn first-hand what kind of candidates the city is looking for when it looks to hire a new city manager.

Pierce said a meeting with the public is also in the works.

"Maybe an open house," she said, "Maybe a reception."

No firm date has been set as of yet for this portion of the firm's visit.

Time will also be set aside for one-on-one time with each council member.

"They are going to want to meet with you individually," Pierce said.

The timing of the hiring of a new city manager on the heels of the abrupt cancellation of the contract with the city's former manager, John Hozey, has been awkward at best according to many observers.

Three of the four council members that voted to terminate Hozey's contract last April are no longer on the council, having opted to not run again for terms that expired in early May.

Three new council members, Ryan McCune, Lea Cockerham and Lon Needles, were sworn into office during Monday night's regular council meeting.

The city manager is hired and managed by council; the manager, in turn, runs the city under policy set by council.

At the time his contract was terminated, Hozey's was paid $120,000 per year, plus a $600 monthly car allowance and 40 days of paid leave.

Photo courtesy Slavin Management Consultants website

Robert E. Slavin, president of Slavin Management Consultants

Todd Wegner, who was assistant city manager under Hozey, has been named acting city manager by council – a role he was initially reluctant to fill. Initially, Wegner recommended Lisa Von Bargen, the city's executive director of economic development, be named acting or interim city manager instead, a recommendation that proved unpopular with council.

A three-member council committee, consisting of Mayor Larry Weaver and council members Chris Moulton and Nate Smith have been tasked with overseeing contract procurement for the new city manager search and other related duties.

Three members of council are allowed to meet without posting a public notice because it takes four members to form a quorum.

The contract with Slavin was paid for from the city council's reserve fund.


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