Rorie Watt

Rorie Watt

CBJ city manager search finally over

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.

More in News

The Aurora Borealis glows over the Mendenhall Glacier in 2014. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast

Forecasts from the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute for the week of Dec. 3

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Tuesday, Dec. 6

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Mountain reflections are seen from the Mendenhall Wetlands. (Courtesy Photo / Denise Carroll)
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Superb reader-submitted photos of wildlife, scenery and/or plant life.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
At Wednesday evening’s special Assembly meeting, the Assembly appropriated nearly $4 million toward funding a 5.5% wage increase for all CBJ employees along with a 5% increase to the employer health contribution. According to City Manager Rorie Watt, it doesn’t necessarily fix a nearly two decade-long issue of employee retention concerns for the city.
City funds wage increase amid worker shortage

City Manager says raise doesn’t fix nearly two decade-long issue of employee retainment

People and dogs traverse the frozen surface Mendenhall Lake on Monday afternoon. Officials said going on to any part of Mendenhall Lake can open up serious risks for falling into the freezing waters. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Officials warn residents about the dangers of thin ice on Mendenhall Lake

Experts outline what to do in the situation that someone falls through ice

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Dec. 3

This report contains information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Molly Yazwinski holds a 3,000-year-old moose skull with antlers still attached, found in a river on Alaska’s North Slope. Her aunt, Pam Groves, steadies an inflatable canoe. (Courtesy Photo /Dan Mann)


2. A 14,000-year-old fragment of a moose antler, top left, rests on a sand bar of a northern river next to the bones of ice-age horses, caribou and muskoxen, as well as the horns of a steppe bison. Photo by Pam Groves.


3. Moose such as this one, photographed this year near Whitehorse in the Yukon, may have been present in Alaska as long as people have. Photo by Ned Rozell.
Alaska Science Forum: Ancient moose antlers hint of early arrival

When a great deal of Earth’s water was locked up within mountains… Continue reading

FILE - Freight train cars sit in a Norfolk Southern rail yard on Sept. 14, 2022, in Atlanta. The Biden administration is saying the U.S. economy would face a severe economic shock if senators don't pass legislation this week to avert a rail worker strike. The administration is delivering that message personally to Democratic senators in a closed-door session Thursday, Dec. 1.  (AP Photo / Danny Karnik)
Congress votes to avert rail strike amid dire warnings

President vows to quickly sign the bill.

Most Read