KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Acting City of Ketchikan Manager Lacey Simpson provided an update in a memo to the Ketchikan City Council in its agenda for Thursday’s regular meeting on the progress made in hiring a Ketchikan Fire Department chief, a Port and Harbors director, a Ketchikan Public Utilities electric division manager and a City/KPU manager.

Prior to December, a search for a new Ketchikan Police Department chief also was held, leading to the council in its meeting of Dec. 16 approving the hiring of Jeffrey Walls of Pearl River, Louisiana to fill that position.

According to Simpson, the city manager/KPU manager position was vacated Aug. 31 when previous manager Karl Amylon retired. The city in mid-November released a bid for proposals from recruitment firms to begin the search process.

The city has received four bid proposals as of the deadline of Dec. 8. City staff has received the proposals for review and plan to make a recommendation for a recruitment firm choice to the council at the council’s regular meeting of Jan. 20.

The effort to secure a Port and Harbors director has been ongoing since Aug. 18, 2020, according to Simpson’s memo. The position was vacated on Nov. 1, 2020 when previous director Steve Corporon retired.

The city advertised the position “in-house” for five days in August, 2020 then began advertising nationally in March of 2021. There have been zero in-house applicants, six local applicants, five in-state applicants and 35 national applicants.

City staff has interviewed five applicants, and have completed all in-person and secondary interviews. Currently, Simpson wrote, the “background check process” is in progress.

During Thursday’s regular council meeting, Council Member Abby Bradberry asked Simpson why it has been taking longer to choose a port director than seems necessary.

Simpson referred to holiday breaks and her own recent two-week vacation as two reasons the process has been slowed in making a decision on hiring for that position. She did state that she expected the new director to be selected within the next month.

Ketchikan Public Works Director Mark Hilson has been filling the acting Port and Harbors director position for the past year, while also fulfilling many of his work duties in the public works division.

The KFD chief position was vacated when former chief Abner Hoage retired on Oct. 16. In-house advertising for the position began in-house on July 29 for five days, then was expanded nationally on Aug. 25.

There have been one in-house, one local, one in-state and 21 national applications received. Simpson noted that one in-house candidate and one national candidate withdrew from consideration.

There have been six candidates interviewed and city staff has conducted one in-person and secondary interview. The applications still are under review.

The KPU electric division manager position was vacated on Jan. 3 when previous manager Andy Donato retired.

Advertisements for the positions were begun in-house and nationally on Nov. 16. The city has received one in-house, two local, one in-state and 12 national applications. No candidates have yet been interviewed and the city continues to accept applications for screening and future review.

Former KPU Electric Division System Engineering Manager Jeremy Bynum has stepped in to fill the role of acting electric division manager.