Ketchikan’s City Council will consider Thursday making it easier for residents to get city jobs.
The council is scheduled to consider a local hiring preference. If two applicants for a city job have the same qualifications, a local preference would require the city to give a leg up to a candidate who lives within Ketchikan city limits.
City Council Member Riley Gass put forth the proposed one-sentence tweak to the city’s personnel rules.
“When the qualifications of the applicants for appointment are otherwise equal, preference will be given to residents of the city,” reads the proposed language.
Gass has opposed some recent city and school board decisions to hire non-residents.
Ketchikan’s incoming police chief, Jeff Walls, was hired from New Orleans’ police force in December. The City Council voted in January to hire a port director who most recently lived in Valdez. Gass voted against both hires.
Gass and City Council Member Jai Mahtani also expressed concerns on social media after Ketchikan’s school board voted unanimously last month to hire a superintendent who most recently worked in Western Alaska instead of a local candidate. (The school board is not part of city government.)
Both Gass and Mahtani have argued that hiring outside candidates over locals discourages residents from trying to rise through the ranks.
Ketchikan’s City Council is scheduled to consider the idea at a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall. The full agenda is available online, and the meeting is broadcast on local cable channels. There’s time for public comment at the beginning of the meeting.
Disclosure: City Council Member Jai Mahtani is also a member of KRBD’s nonprofit board of directors, which does not direct news coverage.