On Monday, City Manager Janette Bower interviewed with the Soldotna City Council for the municipality’s city manager opening. One of four candidates under consideration, Bower joined the council via teleconference as part of a special session during which the candidates were questioned. The interview comes one week before the Feb. 6 Seward City Council executive session at which Bower’s performance review is scheduled to take place. In her résumé, dated Jan. 5, Bower described her reason for leaving as, “Opportunity to serve the City of Soldotna and further growth.” In the accompanying cover letter, she went on to describe open, honest communication and working collaboratively as managerial goals.
“This transparency is applied within the organization, with stakeholders, and the public,” read the letter. “My motto is, ‘tell me where you want to go and I will do my best to get you there’.”
The letter went on to describe Bower’s approach to city management.
“I enjoy refining and developing new processes and procedures to create greater efficiencies,” read Bower’s letter. “I believe in ‘uncomplicating’ the governmental processes to provide the public with a greater understanding of their local government.”
Notable for introducing Committee of the Whole sessions to Seward’s City Council and other municipal bodies, Bower has been credited with streamlining city legislative processes within the dictates of Robert’s Rules of Order, eliminating work sessions at which no action may be taken. In her interview Monday, Bower explained what attracted her to Soldotna.
“You might find it humorous, I hope, but some things that attract me to Soldotna, believe it or not, is your marketing – the Soldotna logo,” she said. “I love it. It is very vibrant and clean, and that is what I actually think about Soldotna. It’s a vibrant community on the move and it has great energy, and I’d like to be part of the energy. I think that I would be a good fit because of that type of energy is my energy and what I like to work within to serve a community, and I also think that my work ethic and integrity is good for Soldotna.”
Bower went on to say that a hallmark of her approach to the role of city manager is a focus on getting to know the city, its inner workings and its needs.
“I know that in my role, some of the things that I have going on in Seward are not public issues,” she said. “You can read minutes and everything else like that, but there is always more going on in a city.”
To close her résumé, Bower listed former mayor Christy Terry and current Community Development Director Jason Bickling among her personal references.
Along with Bower, also being considered for the Soldotna post are former Goodland, Kansas City Manager Alan Lanning, now residing in Colorado; former Bristol Bay Borough Manager and interim Dillingham City Manager Gregg Breslford; and interim Huron, Michigan Township Manager Elke Doom. At its upcoming Feb. 8 regular session, the Soldotna City Council is expected to announce the two candidates who will be invited to Soldotna for in-person follow-up interviews.