City Engineering Director Rorie Watt is one of two finalists for the Juneau city manager position.

City Engineering Director Rorie Watt is one of two finalists for the Juneau city manager position.

Finalists named in city manager search

In mid August, City Manager Kim Kiefer announced that she planned to retire, sending city officials into an urgent search to find her replacement. Almost six months and 56 applicants later, it’s down to two candidates.

During the past few weeks, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, which will ultimately decide who will replace Kiefer, narrowed the applicant pool down several times to arrive at the final two candidates: Rorie Watt and Fred Parady.

“This is really one of the most important things the Assembly does, so they have been very thoughtful about what skill sets that person possesses, what vision they have for the city,” said Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove in a telephone interview with the Empire Thursday morning.

Watt currently works as the city’s director of engineering and public works. He has lived in Juneau for 23 year, according to a CBJ news release. Parady serves as the deputy commissioner of the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development. He has lived in Juneau for one an a half years, the release states.

Cosgrove has served as the staff support for the Assembly in its city manager search, and she said the fact that both finalists live in Juneau has helped accelerate the selection process.

“Because we had strong local candidates, we were able to move more quickly than we might have otherwise,” she said. “So quickly, in fact, that we may know who our new city manager is before mid month.

“I don’t imagine it would take more than a week for the Assembly to make a decision, perhaps sooner,” Cosgrove said, though she made sure to point out that’s only an estimate.

Before the Assembly makes any decisions, however, there will be a candidate meet-and-greet open to the public. The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday in the the Assembly Chambers.

“We’d really like the public to come and participate in the process. This is their city manager as much as it is ours,” Cosgrove said.

The goal, at this point, is to have the new city manager in place as soon as possible to work on the city’s budget with Kiefer, who will retire at the end of April.

“There’s a lot to be done before I walk out of there,” Kiefer told the Empire on Wednesday. “Right now I’m mainly focused on the budget.”

According to the city’s charter, the manager is required to present the budget by April 5.

Fred Parady, Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, is one of two finalists for the Juneau city manager position.

Fred Parady, Commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development, is one of two finalists for the Juneau city manager position.

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