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City Council scrambles after Manager choice turns down job offer

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City of Homer

    The Homer City Council Monday night voted to authorize a contract with Randy Robertson to become the next city manager, despite the candidate’s notification earlier in the day that he was no longer inclined to work at the City of Homer.

    Councilmember Donna Aderhold announced the bad news.

    “Well, unfortunately we heard from our candidate today that he will not be accepting the position,” she said.

    Councilmember Heath Smith however, said he did not want to give up on Robertson.

    “My hope is that today we can approve this contract and, and give (City Manager Koester) Katie direction to kind of reengage with him and see what measure we can take in order to accommodate his needs,” Smith said. “I know that his email addressed certain things that I think that, as a matter of record, we can make very clear did not represent the opinion of this body and that it is not appropriate for any singular person to try to undermine those decisions.”

    What those comments might have been were not repeated during the meeting, but Councilmember Joey Evenson was quoted in last week’s Homer News explaining why he voted against Robertson for manager, including, “concerns over what he perceives as omissions or the ‘appearance of dishonesty (in) his answers in the interview.’”

    Evenson offered a mea culpa before being one of the unanimous votes to try to reignite contract talks.

    “Let me offer an apology to my colleagues around the table. I made some comments that I thought were in the interest of the community and it's certainly in the spirit of analyzing an interview after the fact and I did not intend for those comments to have the consequences that they did,” Evenson said. “So I would like to apologize to the candidate. And also, like I said, to the body here at the table.”

    Mayor Ken Castner offered up a way forward, but said he wanted unanimous support behind it.

    “I believe that the manager's message, if she's going to rekindle the conversation, is: you are the choice of the city council. The council supports you, the council would like you to reconsider. Councilmember Evenson has offered an apology, and we would really, really like to have you reconsider. And that's all she can do, I think,” Castner said. “But I would like some consensus from the council that you're willing to do that. It truly is a Hail Mary pass.

    The vote on last night’s contract offer was unanimous. 

    Randy Robertson is the current city manager of Aberdeen, Maryland.

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