Borough SealThe Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly agreed Monday to a process for replacing Borough Manager Dan Bockhorst after his planned retirement at the end of this year.

The Assembly changed the process recommended by borough staff, but only in terms of the timeline for advertising the position. Assembly Member John Harrington proposed an amendment to provide more time, and advertise earlier rather than later.

While the amendment eventually passed unanimously, Assembly Member Stephen Bradford expressed concern about starting the process too soon.

“If we identify candidates that are any good, they’re going to also be sought by other communities,” he said. “My concern is that if someone is looking for a job in March or April, they’re not going to want to wait until the following December.”

Harrington countered that he believes it will benefit the selection process to let potential candidates know that there’s an opening.

“In this economy, I think a notice to folks that says: ‘We are going to have a vacancy; this is something you ought to be looking at,'” he said. “Essentially, all I’m trying to say is get the word out: We’re going to be looking.”

Harrington’s amendment called for an initial notification in March of the job opening. His second amendment, which also passed unanimously, starts the official two-month recruitment period in August.

The main motion then also passed unanimously. That calls for a three-member committee to lead the selection process, with decisions by that committee subject to Assembly review.

Assembly Member Mike Painter noted that the borough has been without a manager previously, and survived. He recalled a time when the assistant borough manager resigned, and the Assembly fired the manager. Painter says the clerks and department heads kept things running.

“And so, it’s not like we have to be afraid of what’s going to happen and what could happen,” he said. “I expect that our current manager will be heavily involved in this process and the sun will come up tomorrow.”

Monday’s Assembly meeting was short, likely in anticipation of a two-day policy-setting meeting later this week. That meeting will start at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday in Borough Assembly chambers.