After council interview, Dumouchel offered Homer City Manager position

Jul 2, 2020

The Homer City Council share a laugh with city manager-designee Rob Dumouchel, lower left, during its interview with him Wednesday night. The body voted unanimously to offer him the job.
Credit Zoom screencap/KBBI

Everyone on the Homer City Council seems in agreement that Rob Dumouchel of Eureka, California, is fit to be the next city manager. After about an hour of questions and answers over Zoom video conferencing, the council voted unanimously to offer him the job.
    During the interview, Dumouchel was asked why he chose to apply for the job in Homer.
     “I feel it's, it's good match for my professional interests. You know, I've been kind of aspiring towards the city manager role for quite some time, building a body of work that would make this make sense. but I'm also really excited about things like coastal marine planning, you know, fishing communities, rural economic development, and so I feel there's a lot of things that would really engage me in the city of Homer,” Dumouchel said. “And then I also like a lot of what I've seen just through with your council and the reading in the media and things like that, I like what you're up to. I like how you handle your business. That's nice. I like the general transparency and the way that things are happening, at least what I'm seeing from here, at a distance.”
    He was asked how he would gain the trust of the dozen department heads employed under him.
     “You know, at this point, I'm just some like, friendly stranger from California that would drop into your team and like, who am I even, like, how do we get there? And, if we don't, you know, then the whole thing doesn't work. Like I need the council to trust me. I need staff to trust me and I need it to go the other way too, so we can actually implement your direction,” Dumouchel said. “So I think, I guess for me, when it comes to trust stuff, I have some go-to moves and I have more of a foundational view on it. I'm really big on boundaries and expectations. You know, I want to be really clear to people kind of what you're empowered to do and kind of where the lines are. So I have a lot of trust in my staff to do the right thing without me having to talk to them about every single decision.”
    He added that he likes to meet people where they work, not necessarily in city hall.
    “You know, sometimes going to the city manager's office, say like, if you work on the streets crew or something like that, and it feels like going to the principal's office, and it's hard to have a really good conversation with people if they feel nervous or out of place,” Dumouchel said. “So I'd much rather, you know, go out to the shop, to the courtyard and things like that and have those discussions with people in person where they're comfortable and I'm the one out of place.”
    Councilmember Heath Smith summed up much of the council’s comments in declaring his intention to support Dumouchel for the job.
    “I've been nothing but impressed with all the steps and hurdles that Rob has cleared here. So I don't know what more can be said other than echoing what has been, but I think that it's pretty clear that there's been a clear, dedicated effort for him to prepare for this moment. And I think that he's there. I mean, he shows that he has the capacity, energy, and attitude that really fit Homer,” Smith said. “So I'm going to be in favor of offering him the job.”
    The vote to offer Dumouchel the job was unanimous. Mayor Ken Castner, acting City Manager Rick Abboud, and H.R. Director Andrea Browning will now negotiate a contract, salary and start date with him. Dumouchel is currently the interim Director of Development Services at the city of Eureka, California.