After working more than 30 years and serving eight different roles at the City and Borough of Juneau, City Manager Rorie Watt announced on Friday his plans to resign from his position at the end of September.
“It’s exciting, it’s like the next chapter in life for me,” Watt told the Empire. “It’s been great and fun and challenging, and I have a lot of things that I want to do after.”
Watt has served in his role as city manager since 2016 and was named 2022 Municipal Official of the Year by the Alaska Municipal League. Before that he took on seven different positions over his three decades working with the city, rising to director of engineering and public works before taking over the top administrative job.
Watt said it’s been a “wild and fun” time and he’s excited about what his future holds.
“It’s really special to be city manager of your own town, not many people get to do that,” he said. “You get to know so many people in the community and work on many issues, it’s really a position of tremendous privilege the way I look at it.”
City Mayor Beth Weldon told the Empire Friday evening the news wasn’t a shock to her, but said that his absence will be felt come his resignation.
“We will sorely miss Rorie,” she said. “But, we hope he enjoys his retirement and rock climbing at his convenience.”
Weldon said Watt’s biggest contributions to CBJ were his level of knowledge of the Juneau borough and of the community, along with his ability to work well with the Assembly and other city officials.
“He brings very creative thinking and he’s able to see solutions that others don’t see,” she said. “He also has very good written skills, talks very eloquently and gets along with a lot of people.”
Watt said he plans to remain a Juneau resident, though he “might go to Douglas every once in a while” he said, laughing.
After his resignation at the end of September, Watt said he plans to purchase a van and spend the winter driving across the country and explore his passions of rock climbing and writing. As for after that, Watt said he’s still young and is keeping the door open for other career opportunities in the future.
After his formal announcement to the Assembly on Monday, the Assembly will begin the likely monthslong process of finding his replacement.