Homer City Council requests second interview with Dumouchel for manager job

Jun 11, 2020

Rob Dumouchel.
Credit robdumouchel.com

The Homer City Council received a lot of interest in the position of city manager when the job was advertised for the second time this year. After going through the resumes of more than three-dozen candidates, five were selected for audio interviews with the council. Those were held on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Afterwards, the council settled on moving forward with only one of the candidates, Rob Dumouchel of Eureka, Calif.
    Before commencing, two candidates dropped out, leaving three. They were Rob Dumouchel of Eureka, California; Ernest Weiss of Anchorage, and Melissa Jacobsen, who is the current Homer City Clerk.
    Dumouchel and Weiss were interviewed on Tuesday, Jacobsen on Wednesday.
    After the last interview the council took Weiss off their list, and that left Jacobsen with her municipal experience and institutional knowledge, and Dumouchel with his many academic credentials, but who is still early in his public administration career.
    “Having lived here since 1973 and gone through many, many, many, many city managers, I have all these stories going through my head about who came in and why they left and who filled in and was just like, well, this side and that side and this side and that side, professional, local, professional, local, professional, local, it just went back and forth for years,” Mayor Ken Castner said. “And I just know that if you just don't get off on the right foot, you don't get off at all. In the most thorough process that I ever saw was the one where Walt Wrede was selected and you know how long he lasted, it was a pretty good process. And one that I think that you guys are following right now, very open and, you know, nothing has been done behind closed doors. And I'm proud of this process.”
    For the record, Walt Wrede was city manager of Homer for over a dozen years.
    Soon though, the council landed on Dumouchel as the leading choice and candidate they’d like to invite back. There will be at least two more interviews, one with an ad hoc citizen advisory committee, and one with the council.
    The debate then became whether to ask Dumouchel to fly up, or do more meetings over Zoom video conference.
    “We need to contact him. I think that Council member Smith is correct though. I don't think that any of us should speak for him. We should probably offer, 'Well, you can come up here. You can take the test in Anchorage. I don't know how you get back, I don't know what their requirements are, or you can Zoom because you know, it's COVID times and these are testing sorts of things.' And I think that that's a very reasonable approach to put it in his lap and let him make that decision.”
    The council decided that they will have a video interview with Dumouchel and leave the option of visiting Homer up to him at this time. The mayor held out the possibility of having a work session before the June 22 Committee of the Whole meeting.
    Dumouchel is currently the interim director of developmental services for the City of Eureka, California, for which he has worked for five years in various planning capacities. His master’s thesis from nearby Humboldt State University is on Fishing Community Sustainability Planning.