Council picks three finalists for city manager job
Three candidates for city manager are undergoing consideration to replace Thomas Moran who resigned the position almost a year ago. Local applicant, John K. Handeland, current interim city manager made the cut, along with Randy E. Robertson, former manager in Cordova, Alaska, and W. Glenn Steckman, whose background includes a stint as manager in Eastman and then Reading, Pennsylvania.
The Council interviewed the trio. Handeland was interviewed in person and the other two hopefuls by teleconference at a special meeting of the Council convened at the Arthur Nagozruk Conference Room at Northwest Campus UAF.
The interviews happened in executive session closed to the public. However, consistent with state open meetings law, Bryant Hammond, Nome’s city clerk, provided copies of the candidates’ cover letters, resumes and references.
Robertson has served as city manager of Aberdeen, Md., a town of 16,000, since 2016. From 2013 to 2016, Robertson served as manager in Cordova, AK, population 2,285. Robertson in January made the cut as finalist for city manager’s position in Seward, AK, but did not prevail.
Steckman’s most recent jobs were as managing director and acting director of administration in Reading, Pa., from which he was terminated in September in a group firing by the mayor without a stated cause, according to news reports, and Eastman, Pa., where he served for six years.
The Council plans to hold a session open to the public with the three candidates, to be announced. It is anticipated candidates will give more information about their work history and qualifications.
In alphabetical order:
John K. Handeland currently serves as Nome’s interim city manager since last fall as well as Nome Joint Utility System manager. He has had a 30-year association in various capacities with City of Nome, as elected official and including direct employment for utilities and school district.
In other experience he served as general manager of Alaska Gold Co. for 19 years. While attending Nome-Beltz Jr.-Sr. High School, he worked for Nome Public Schools for four years as accounting tech, administrative assistant and audio-visual technologist and a stint as Village Health Services clerk (part-time) for Norton Sound Health Corp.
According to his application, Handeland’s public service includes mayor of Nome for 14 years from 1985 through 1999; Nome Volunteer Ambulance driver, CPR-first-aid certified since 1995, Norton Sound Economic Development Corp. as a member of the finance committee since 2011.
Handeland lists board member service for NSHC, Nome Community Center, Bering Sea Lions Club, Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc. as president, vice president, treasurer and secretary and local coordinator since 1994, Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc., Arctic Native Brotherhood, Nome Child Care, Inc., and Northwest Campus, UAF Advisory Committee.
Handeland attended University of Alaska Fairbanks, Western Washington University, Bellingham, Wash., Northwest Community College,
“I am seeking and am willing to make a long-term commitment,” Handeland wrote in his cover letter. “ I believe the city can benefit from and should require it, charting a course of stability, and allowing for a focus on long-term initiatives.”
Randy E. Robertson, in addition to city manager experience, has a military background as United States Army, retired, having served as brigade executive chief of staff in U. S. Army Europe, where he directed operational activities of a 2,000-military/civilian/ international staff providing communications, automation and administrative services to 27 United States military and diplomatic communities in Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia (Operation Iraqi Freedom), according to his resume. He coached, mentored and provided professional development to the senior field grade, civilian and international staff.
Robertson holds master’s degrees in urban planning, public administration and strategic planning from Johns Hopkins University, Western Kentucky University and United State War College, respectively; a certificate in FEMA Emergency Management; a Harvard University Senior Executive Fellowship; NATO Staff Officers’ College in Brussels, Belgium; a certification in business administration from Belmont University; leadership programs in University of Virginia and programs in Washington D. C; managers’ programs from schools in New York, and Ft. Leavenworth , Kansas and a B.A. from Western Kentucky University.
“I am one of a handful of municipal leaders in the county who completed FEMA’s yearlong National Emergency Management Executive Academy and have extensive emergency management and leadership, including operations in Hurricane Katrina and Cordova’s “Snowpocalypse.”
Robertson served as city manager also in Vestavia Hills, Ala., Mt. Juliet, Tenn. and Ashland, Ky.
W. Glenn Steckman has been in municipal government, according to his resume, since 1996 when he served as councilman in Ocean City, Md. He lists a job earlier in his career as circuit riding town manager in Dorchester County Md., where he worked with six municipalities and 22 elected officials. He attended all six towns’ council meetings and served as their liaison to all county and state agencies. In the two years he worked there, he secured $700,000 in grants which provided a playground, a new comprehensive plan and a road construction project, according to his resume.
He lists experience as county administrator in King and Queen County,Virginia Town; administrator in Tiverton, Rhode Island: Town manager, Laurel, Del. Steckman pursued his education at St. Mary’s Seminary, B.A.; in philosophy; M.A. in religious education and M. A. in theology at St. Mary’s Seminary; all in Maryland, and an M.S. in management and supervision at Wilmington, University in Delaware. Additionally, Steckman holds a certificate in local government excellence, Institute of Public Administration , University of Delaware.
In his cover letter, Steckman said “I have spent much of my career dealing with communities with challenging infrastructure and financial problems, and correcting their problems. In Reading, Pa., an Act 47 (bankruptcy) city, the community was 65 percent Latino, 14 percent African-American, and 23 percent Caucasian.
“I am a strong manager who has the budgetary and other financial skills that work in any size community,” Steckman wrote.