Juneau Assembly considers City Manager evaluation criteria

Kim Kiefer

Juneau City Manager Kim Kiefer (center) meets with Capital City residents during the interview process prior to being hired. Kiefer has been on the job a year, meaning her annual evaluation is due. Photo by Rosemarie Alexander/KTOO.

Merrill Sanford

Merrill Sanford. Photo courtesy City and Borough of Juneau.

Juneau City Manager Kim Kiefer has officially been on the job for a year, meaning it’s time for her annual evaluation by the CBJ Assembly.

Mayor Merrill Sanford on Monday appointed a three-member committee made up of himself, Assemblywoman Karen Crane, and Assemblyman Carlton Smith to come up with evaluation criteria and a timeline. He also asked other members for their suggestions.

Without offering specifics, Assemblyman Randy Wanamaker said he thought the Assembly should set the goals and objectives upon which Kiefer would be rated, then choose the time period for which members would judge her performance.

“The city manager started before all of the members on this Assembly were part of the Assembly,” Wanamaker said. “So, perhaps we would want to start the measurement period from last October, instead of from April when she began.”

Randy Wanamaker

Randy Wanamaker. Photo courtesy City and Borough of Juneau.

Wanamaker also suggested the evaluation be completed by August, two months before the October municipal election when two Assembly seats will be on the ballot.

“It’s before the election and its plenty of time for us to have an objective management evaluation period,” he said.

Wanamaker was the only Assembly member to vote against Kiefer’s appointment as City Manager when she was selected from a pool of 25 applicants in January 2012. He’s not up for reelection until October 2014.

Assemblywoman Crane – who is up for reelection this year – took issue with Wanamaker’s suggestion that the goals and objectives be set retroactively.

“It seems to me grossly unfair to be setting evaluation goals now for performance for the year past,” Crane said. “I think it would be a fine process to do, so that the city manager knows that a year from now, or a year from whatever date is selected, these are the specific things on which she is going to be evaluated.”

Assemblyman Smith suggested the Assembly hire an outside firm or expert to help with the evaluation process.

“I feel, given the responsibility of the manager, that it’s time for us to utilize a third party in this process to guide us,” Smith said.

Karen Crane

Karen Crane. Photo courtesy City and Borough of Juneau.

Mayor Sanford said all options would be considered by the committee before a recommendation is made to the full Assembly.

The only two positions the Assembly hires and has oversight for are City Manager and City Attorney.

Kiefer has worked various jobs for the city since 1984. Before taking over as City Manager, she served seven years as Deputy Manager. She also was Acting Manager for six months in 2009 when then-Manager Rod Swope took a sabbatical.

City Attorney John Hartle’s evaluation is due as well. Sanford said the committee would come up with the criteria for his review.

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