City manager finalists to face public tonight

Juneau residents can see city manager candidates Norman “Buddy” Custard and Kim Kiefer in action tonight (Wednesday) when they take part in a public presentation and reception at City Hall.

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

The City and Borough Assembly named the two as finalists for the job in December. Kiefer is currently deputy city manager. She held the top position on an interim basis three years ago, when current manager Rod Swope took a six-month sabbatical. Custard is a captain in the US Coast Guard, currently serving as chief of staff for District 17, which is based in Juneau and encompasses all of Alaska.

CBJ Human Resources Director Mila Cosgrove has been helping the Assembly develop the interview process, including tonight’s public meeting.

“They both have different styles and different backgrounds and it’s a chance to get to see them, at least in terms of the public presentation pieces,” Cosgrove says. “And then, more informally, kind of in a meet and a greet type of a situation, there will be the opportunity to interact more casually with both candidates.”

Cosgrove says the topic of the public presentation won’t be revealed until tonight’s meeting begins. That’s to avoid giving either candidate an advantage. She says there will be comment cards for the public to fill out to inform assembly members as they make their final decision.

Besides the reception there will be a formal question and answer period following each candidate’s presentation.

Kim Kiefer (Photo courtesy City and Borough of Juneau)

“They’ll make a short presentation and then if the audience has questions about the content of the presentation or something else they’d like to ask directly, they can also do that,” says Cosgrove.

The Assembly hopes to offer either Custard or Kiefer the manager’s job by the end of the month. Swope retires on March 31st and the goal is to have the new manager on the job for a two-week overlap period.

Besides the public meeting, both candidates have been asked to complete a written assignment and will go through a formal, closed-door interview with the Assembly on Saturday.

The public meeting is tonight from 5 to 8 p.m. in City Hall Assembly Chambers.

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