CBJ Assembly names city manager finalists

The Juneau Assembly has named two local candidates as finalists for the city manager job.

Deputy City Manager Kim Kiefer and US Coast Guard Captain Norman “Buddy” Custard beat out 23 other applicants to make to the final stage of the search. Casey Kelly has more.


Kim Kiefer (Photo courtesy City and Borough of Juneau)

It’s no surprise that Kiefer is a finalist. She held the position on an interim basis in 2009 when City Manager Rod Swope took a six-month sabbatical. A Juneau Douglas High School graduate, Kiefer has worked for the city since 1984 – serving as deputy manager since 2005. Before that she was Parks & Recreation Director, Recreation Superintendent, and manager of the Zach Gordon Youth Center. She has a degree in Parks and Recreation Management from the University of Oregon.

Custard is currently Chief of Staff for the Coast Guard’s District 17, which encompasses all of Alaska. He’s spent four years of his nearly 31-year Coast Guard career stationed in Juneau, including his current tour. Custard has also done stints in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and as commander of four different Coast Guard cutters. He has a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University and a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He told the assembly in his cover letter that he plans to retire soon, and is “eager to pursue new professional challenges.”

Captain Norman "Buddy" Custard. (Photo courtesy US Coast Guard)

Mayor Bruce Botelho was unavailable to comment Wednesday. But in a news release he praised both candidates’ public service, saying – quote: “The two candidates we selected clearly stood out from the other applicants. The Assembly felt that both … possessed the background, experience, and commitment to the community required to be an outstanding City Manager.”

Kiefer and Custard will go through an interview process in January. It will include an opportunity for the public to meet both candidates.

The assembly hopes to offer one of them the job by the end of January, and aims to have a two week overlap period where the new manager can work with Swope before he retires on March 31st.

City Manager and City Attorney are the only positions hired by the Assembly.