Erin Reinders March 28, 2019 16x9

In this March 28 file photo, city manager candidate Erin Reinders, right, joins the City Council for an interview at City Hall.

The front-runner in Seward’s search for a long-term city manager has withdrawn from consideration after receiving an offer to stay on in her current city of Unalaska.

Erin Reinders turned down an offer from the Seward City Council on April 15, several hours before a noon deadline set by the council’s negotiating committee. One of two finalists for the position, Reinders received an offer from Seward on April 1, the same day that the city manager in Unalaska delivered his resignation.

Reinders is currently the assistant city manager in Unalaska. The Unalaska City Council voted unanimously in an April 11 meeting to appoint her city manager after current manager Thomas E. Thomas leaves his post at the end of May, as reported by Unalaska radio station KUCB.

“She has decided to accept the offer from Unalaska,” said Vice Mayor Sue McClure, the current senior member of the council’s negotiating team. “We had a very brief negotiating committee meeting by phone this morning, and she was right up front about it.”

Reinders did not respond to voicemail seeking comment. Mayor David Squires, who previously served on the negotiating committee, is out of town.

The council has called a special meeting for Tuesday, April 16, at noon where it will decide on its next step.

“We have obviously two options. One, to offer the job to Scott, or two, to go back to GovHR and start over,” McClure said, referring to the other finalist, Scott Meszaros, and to the firm that assisted the council in its search for a manager.

Council Member Suzi Towsley, also on the negotiating committee, said she would prefer to offer the job to Meszaros.

 “We all said the next guy’s great and it was a hard decision,” she said. “I have talked to some constituent who have suggested sending it out again for more applicants. While I understand their concerns, I meant what I said when I said it was a hard decision.”

“The only thing that catapulted her over him in my head is that she has Alaskan experience,” Towsley added. “We can get Scott up to speed. It’s not rocket science. It’s just Alaska politics.”