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

Editor, Valdez Star 

City manager position opens in Valdez after Ragsdale resigns

Acting administrator will be named in the coming weeks council says


Valdez is in search of a new city manager - again.

The move comes after Dennis Ragsdale, the current city manager, tendered his resignation to the Valdez City Council last week after a tough three-part city manager review.

The city council accepted the resignation from Ragsdale, who took over as top administrator in Valdez only last January. His resignation takes effect January 3, 2017.

Council accepted Ragdale's resignation a week ago Tuesday.

Ragsdale was hired by city council in October of 2015 after hiring Robert Jean as interim city manager in July of 2015. Jean took over for Todd Wegner, the assistant city manager who took charge of city administration after council failed to renew the contract of John Hozey in April, 2015. Hozey held the position for almost ten years.

The vote to accept Ragsdale's resignation was unanimous. Council member Nate Smith was absent.

Ragsdale said in a press release issued Wednesday by Allie Ferko, the city's public information officer, that he felt it was in the best interest of the city.

The city clerk's office this week posted a public notice that council will meet in a special meeting to hold an executive session regarding "Evaluation of City Manager Candidate."

Executive sessions are closed to the public, a meeting of public officials allowed under Alaska law when discussing personnel issues.

The press release announcing Ragsdale's resignation said that the city will use the same firm to find a new city manager that it used to fine Jean and Ragsdale.

"Slavin Management Consultants, the firm hired in 2015 to conduct the city manager recruitment process, will assist the City Council in identification of suitable candidates to permanently fill the executive leadership position," the city said. "Slavin's original contract with the City includes a guarantee of work if the city manager position is vacated for any reason within two years of employment."

Even with guarantees - the process of hiring city managers can be expensive.

The city's contract with Slavin was signed on May 4, 2015 with $26,875 price tag.

Valdez Star file photo

City manager Dennis Ragsdale meeting with Donna Walker, Alaska's first lady.

This did not include the cost of bringing final candidates to Valdez for the interview process.

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 was paid $120,000 per year, plus a $600 monthly car allowance and 40 days of paid leave.

The requirements for the position of city manager Slavin published in its 2015 search asked candidates have a Bachelor's degree with major course work in public administration, business administration or a related field (Master's degree preferred) combined with five to seven years of senior management experience in the field of public administration and a stipulation that the person hired would live in Valdez.


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