The four finalists vying to be Unalaska’s next city manager have arrived on the island — and their interviews will take place behind closed doors.
Interim City Manager Nancy Peterson said the City Council has confirmed that holding interviews in executive session does not violate Alaska’s Open Meetings Act.
Peterson said they verified with City Attorney Brooks Chandler.
"It’s for the candidates’ protection," she said. "You’re asking them for a lot of personal information — and in the context of their current work situations. Because it can result in something that could impact their reputations in the jobs they currently have, the interviews allowed to be held in executive session."
That doesn’t mean interviews must held in executive session. But when the council offered candidates a choice between public and private interviews, Peterson said all four of them chose private.
"The candidates might have to be a little bit more guarded [in public interviews]," she said. "Not that they’re going to lie, but they might not be able to expound as fully. So it’s not the council. It’s the candidates. We’re trying to give them the best opportunity."
The council will hold interviews Saturday, but Peterson said Unalaskans will have a chance to meet candidates beforehand.
The city is inviting the public to sit in on their panel interviews with department heads. They're scheduled for Friday from 9 a.m. to noon at City Hall.
There will also be a public meet-and-greet on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Grand Aleutian Hotel. Peterson said that’s when Unalaskans can make suggestions and give feedback to the council.
"The public is welcome — after they’ve visited with the candidates — to share their thoughts with the council members," she said.
Councilors will decide Sunday if they want to make a job offer to any of the candidates.