After approving an $18,000 raise for its manager, Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly is considering another raise for its senior leadership and adding some new positions. All told, borough staff are asking for roughly $550,000 for salaries and benefits. About $150,000 of that is not in the existing budget.
The first request in a staff memo comes for the borough’s second-in-command. The assistant borough manager’s post is currently vacant. Borough officials say they’d like to move the assistant manager to the highest pay scale — the change would raise the maximum salary to about $156,000 per year. That’d be a $30,000 increase.
Borough officials outline a few reasons for the change. Among them are that the assistant manager is tasked with filling in when the manager is away — it’s a significant duty, given that a recently signed contract with the borough manager includes seven weeks of annual leave.
Another listed reason for the change is that the assistant manager currently is on the same pay scale as some of the department heads they supervise.
“Management believes it is in the best interest of the Borough to re-grade the Assistant Borough Manager position at a level proportionate to its duties which include: (1) assumption of a full acting capacity upon the absence or request of the Borough Manager, and (2) above the other department directors over whom the Assistant Borough Manager routinely has direct supervision,” reads a statement attached to the agenda.
Borough officials say raising the assistant borough manager’s wages would bring the position’s pay in line with other municipalities.
Another personnel change would add a second person to the borough’s IT staff. Borough officials say adding a systems and software engineer would reduce the department’s reliance on outside contractors.
The new IT position and the change in pay for the assistant borough manager would cost nearly $400,000 combined — the borough did not break out the cost of each change. But both positions are funded in the current budget, officials say.
In other business, the assembly will consider training an existing employee to fill the shoes of the borough’s controller, who is retiring next spring. Borough officials say it’s tough to recruit senior finance officials to local government jobs in Alaska. The prospective replacement would train under the outgoing controller through next April. Some specialized tasks that require a licensed accountant would be contracted out starting next year.
The shuffle would cost roughly $150,000, officials say, since the training program for the controller’s replacement would require hiring a new lower-level finance staffer. The money for that change was not included in this year’s budget.
Also Monday, the assembly will hear a presentation on a plan to expand the terminal at Ketchikan’s airport.
Ketchikan’s Borough Assembly meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the White Cliff Building on First Avenue. Members of the public have a chance to weigh in at the beginning of the meeting. The meeting will be livestreamed on the borough’s website and broadcast on local cable channels.