The City and Borough of Juneau didn’t have to look far to find its new city manager after all.
After working as a city employee for 22 years, Rorie Watt, who currently serves as the city’s director of engineering and public works, has been tapped for the city’s top spot. He will step into his new role as city manager April 18, allowing a small overlap period before current City Manager Kim Kiefer retires on April 30.
“It’s a little jarring and surprising and gratifying and all of those things,” Watt told the Empire Thursday morning. “I think it’s going to be fun. I’m excited, but it’s just one of those things where I kind of have to stay grounded.”
Watt isn’t the only person excited about his appointment. Mayor Mary Becker said she, too, is glad that Watt will be filling Kiefer’s role this spring.
“I am really pleased that we chose him,” said Becker, who chaired the City Manager Hiring Committee created shortly after Kiefer announced her retirement. “It’s very important that we do a good job with this, and I think that we have.”
Now that Watt has the job, he said the next step is smoothly transition into his new role. And he has a lot to do before the end of April.
The city is heading into budget season, and Watt has to find somebody to serve as the director for both the engineering and the public works departments, a process he said he will begin soon. It is too early to say exactly who will fill these positions or whether they will be filled by one person, Watt said. He was the first person to direct both departments simultaneously.
Still, Becker has confidence that Watt will achieve his “smooth transition.”
“It’s going to be a good transition,” she said. “I think he will come in ready to hit the road running and we’re just happy to have him.”
In the meantime, Watt said he’s just going about his job as he normally does.
“It’s just another day working for the city, trying to make it a better place,” he said.
Watt has lived in Juneau since 1993, working for the city the whole time. He has served the city in many capacities since then, most of which engineering related.
His salary will be $164,998 annually.