City Public Works and Engineering Director Katie Koester smiles for a photo downtown Wednesday evening. Koester was selected by the Assembly to serve as the next city manager following the retirement of Rorie Watt in September. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

City Public Works and Engineering Director Katie Koester smiles for a photo downtown Wednesday evening. Koester was selected by the Assembly to serve as the next city manager following the retirement of Rorie Watt in September. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

City selects familiar face to serve as next manager

Public Works and Engineering’s Katie Koester will take over the role from outgoing Rorie Watt.

City Public Works and Engineering Director Katie Koester is moving up to take the top spot at the City and Borough of Juneau after she was selected to be the next city manager following the retirement of Rorie Watt this fall.

Koester was unanimously appointed by the Assembly during a special meeting Wednesday evening and is set to step into the role this September. Koester’s salary will be $210,000.

Before her time with CBJ, Koester previously served as the Homer City Manager for five years before she was hired by CBJ for her current role in late 2019. Following her selection, the city will now begin its recruitment process to fill her current role.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to be able to serve my community in this matter,” Koester said after the meeting. “I’m very much looking forward to being able to lead such a competent team.”

During the “rigorous” nationwide soliciting process conducted in June for the next manager, the Manager Recruitment Committee reported more than 10 applicants expressed interest in the role. The process began following Watt’s announcement in April of his planned departure after serving in the role since 2016.

“We got candidates from all over the country,” said Assembly member Christine Woll about the months-long process. “It became quite clear we had an amazing candidate in Ms. Koester — and someone who has been a city manager in Alaska before.”

Watt agreed, and after the meeting said he’s confident both is Koester’s abilities and professionalism to take on the position.

“I look forward to watching Katie doing the job in her style, watching CBJ continuing to evolve under her leadership to meet the needs of the day.”

Koester said she is excited to take on the new role and “carry out the wishes of the Assembly.”

“I am deeply committed to this community — it is a wonderful place — and I look forward to hearing from the community and learning more about Juneau, and more about all the different community members that make it up,” she said.

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

More in News

Jasmine Chavez, a crew member aboard the Quantum of the Seas cruise ship, waves to her family during a cell phone conversation after disembarking from the ship at Marine Park on May 10. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Ships in port for the week of June 8

Here’s what to expect this week.

Bill Thomas, a former Republican state representative from Haines, announced Friday he is dropping out of the race for the District 3 House seat this fall. (U.S. Sustainability Alliance photo)
Bill Thomas drops out of District 3 House race, says there isn’t time for fishing and campaigning

Haines Republican cites rough start to commercial season; incumbent Andi Story now unopposed.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, speaks at the Alaska Democratic Party’s state convention on May 18 at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peltola among few Democrats to vote for annual defense bill loaded with GOP ‘culture war’ amendments

Alaska congresswoman expresses confidence “poison pills” will be removed from final legislation.

A celebratory sign stands outside Goldbelt Inc.’s new building during the Alaska Native Regional Corporation’s 50th-anniversary celebration on Jan. 4. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Medical company sues Goldbelt for at least $30M in contract dispute involving COVID-19 vaccine needles

Company says it was stuck with massive stock of useless needles due to improper specs from Goldbelt.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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

A yearling black bear waits for its mother to return. Most likely she won’t. This time of year juvenile bears are separated, sometimes forcibly, by their mothers as families break up during mating season. (Photo courtesy K. McGuire)
Bearing witness: Young bears get the boot from mom

With mating season for adults underway, juveniles seek out easy food sources in neighborhoods.

A chart shows COVID-19 pathogen levels at the Mendenhall wastewater treatment plant during the past three months. (Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Wastewater Surveillance System)
Juneau seeing another increase in COVID-19 cases, but a scarcity of self-test kits

SEARHC, Juneau Drug have limited kits; other locations expect more by Saturday.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to reporters during a news conference Feb. 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Gov. Dunleavy picks second ex-talk radio host for lucrative fish job after first rejected

Rick Green will serve at least through Legislature’s next confirmation votes in the spring of 2025.

A used gondola being installed at Eaglecrest Ski Area may not begin operating until 2027, according to Goldbelt Inc. President and CEO McHugh Pierre, whose company is providing $10 million for installation costs. (Eaglecrest Ski Area photo)
Eaglecrest Ski Area gondola may not open until 2027 due to CBJ delays, Goldbelt CEO says

Agreement with city allows Goldbelt to nix $10M deal if gondola doesn’t open by May 31, 2028.

Most Read