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Homer City Council narrows down candidates for city manager

City of Homer

The Homer City Council narrowed down a hefty list of applicants for the city manager position to three candidates at their June 17 meeting. KBBI’s Jamie Diep has more.

34 people applied for the open position after the city terminated its contract with Rob Dumouchel in March. A citizen’s hiring committee suggested nine applicants for the council to consider in a first round of interviews.

The council discussed the suggested applicants and made their own choices before selecting Melissa Jacobsen, Randy Robertson and Jefferson Dubel to be interviewed. Jacobsen and Robertson were both suggestions from the committee.

Melissa Jacobsen is the current interim city manager. According to her application materials, Jacobsen has worked for the city as a deputy clerk, clerk and deputy director of administration for 20 years. Councilmember Caroline Venuti said Jacobsen has done well in her job so far.

“She's had her foot in the fire in this last couple of weeks, and I've been watching her and she comes out every time reasonable,” she said, “she doesn't get flustered. I just think her responses to things in this last couple of weeks when she has been our acting city manager has been exemplary.”

The council is also considering Randy Robertson. He applied for the role in 2020 and was offered the job, but he turned it down after the Homer News published an article where a councilmember at the time raised concerns about him.

Robertson’s application shows he most recently worked as the manager for Luzerne County in Pennsylvania for seven months in 2022 before leaving to “attend to an immediate family matter.”

Councilmember Donna Aderhold brought up his experience as the city manager in Cordova, where he worked for more than three years until 2016. Aderhold commented on his ability to build the Cordova Center, which houses the city’s library and museum.

“He was able to get the council back together and get that project completed,” she said, “and it really is a significant building in Cordova that does bring a lot of people in the community.”

The final applicant was Jefferson Dubel. He also applied for the position in 2020 but did not reach the interview stage. Councilmember Shelly Erickson nominated him this time, noting his experience.

“From what I know of this man, I would say he's a man that has integrity,” she said.

Dubel is currently the deputy director of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell for the U.S. Department of State, and said in his application he has more than 35 years of experience in the federal government.

Human Resources Director Andrea Browning said in an email that two interviews will take place on July 1, and one will happen on July 2. These interviews will be open to the public to attend in person, and recordings of the interviews will be available after they take place.

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Jamie Diep is a reporter/host for KBBI from Portland, Oregon. They joined KBBI right after getting a degree in music and Anthropology from the University of Oregon. They’ve built a strong passion for public radio through their work with OPB in Portland and the Here I Stand Project in Taipei, Taiwan.Jamie covers everything related to Homer and the Kenai Peninsula, and they’re particularly interested in education and environmental reporting. You can reach them at to send story ideas.
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