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

By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Interim city manager hired by city council

Robert Jean will take the helm at city hall beginning July 20


Robert Jean of University Place, Washington will be the interim city manager in Valdez beginning July 20.

The Valdez City Council approved a six-month contract with Jean during its regular meeting Monday night.

On June 30, the council held a special work session to review candidate resumes for the temporary position, which netted four resumes from hopefuls looking to fill the job before a new, permanent city manager can be hired.

Council appointed a committee, comprised of Mayor Larry Weaver and council members Chris Moulton and Ryan McCune, to negotiate the contract, which will pay Jean $ 92,590 for his service.

The pay is based on the salary paid to former city manager John Hozey, plus the cash equivalent of his benefit package, including health insurance, pension contributions, and other perks, including travel costs. The contract also includes city-paid housing and the use of a city vehicle.

“The City of Valdez shall provide employee with suitable housing which includes all utilities,” the contract says.

The contract prohibits a severance package for Jean if he resigns early.

“Should the Employee resign prior to the end of this contract, final travel reimbursement will not be paid,” the contract says. “No other severance package will be paid upon Employee resignation.”

Cost of travel is also included in the contract.

“An additional amount of $6,000 includes travel expenses for relocation to and from Valdez, and includes the cost of travel to and from Valdez and University Place, Washington on a monthly basis,” the agenda statement to council said. “Mr. Jean stated that any travel to and from his home in Washington would be conducted over a weekend whenever possible.”

The cost of the contract irked council member Lon Needles, who said he believed the committee should have negotiated for better terms, and likened the process to buying a new car.

He said if you pay the sticker price, the car dealers will laugh at you and you pay more than you have to.

“This is pretty shocking,” he said.

Other council members noted that the price of the contract is inline with Hozey’s salary and benefits and that the council’s second-choice candidate, Nancy Peterson, also asked for the same type of salary plus the use of a city car.

Needles was the lone dissenting vote against the contract.

Jean will take over the workload of acting city manager Todd Wegner, who will resume his position as assistant city manager after Jean assumes office July 20.

The city is looking for a permanent city manager and has hired the executive search firm, Slavin Management Consultants, to aid in the process, which could take up to six months.

Jean comes to Valdez with over thirty years of professional experience in city administration according to his resume.

He has a Master of Public Administration from the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington, according to his resume, with a Bachelor of Arts, University of California, Santa Barbara.

He has city manager and interim experience from California, Washington and Oregon.

His personal interests include photography, golf and sailing.

He is an army veteran, having served as First Lieutenant, Infantry, from January 1970 to April 1972. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal and received an honorable discharge.

Jean bested candidates Nancy Peterson, Alan Sorum and Anthony Barrett.


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