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Council Picks Thomas E. Thomas As Unalaska's New City Manager

Feb 5, 2018

Credit Berett Wilber/KUCB

Unalaska has selected a new city manager.

On Sunday, the City Council voted unanimously to offer the job to Thomas E. Thomas, who served most recently as city manager in Rock Island, Illinois.

He beat out three other finalists, including Assistant City Manager Erin Reinders.

“Our consulting firm brought us four wonderful candidates," said Councilor Roger Rowland. "This was not an easy decision.”

Rowland said his vote was based on closed-door interviews with the finalists, as well as feedback from city employees and community members.  

Councilor Dave Gregory agreed, arguing that Thomas’ prior experience as a city manager was particularly impressive.

“He’s got good energy and enthusiasm," said Gregory. "He’s big on communication between himself and the council and the community. He’s got finance and budgeting skills. So I think he’s going to be a good fit with Unalaska.”

Thomas told KUCB that he's worked in local government for about 22 years, including stints in Maryland, Florida, and Georgia.

“I’ve worked at every level," he said. "As a budget analyst, associate planner, assistant county manager, [and] city manager of organizations ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 [people].”

When asked how he’ll approach Unalaska's divisive political scene, Thomas called himself a “consensus builder.”

“While I’ve worked in environments with elected people who may not agree on issues, I’ve also found every one of them is elected because they want to do good work for the community — and that’s where you get them,” he said.

Thomas said he was drawn to Unalaska by the size of the community and the good school district. He’s married with two school-aged children.

Interim City Manager Nancy Peterson said no deadline has been set for Thomas to accept or decline the job offer, but she expects to begin negotiations with him this week.