The Soldotna City Council voted unanimously to offer Stephanie Queen, the city’s director of economic development and planning, the position of city manager.
Queen has been serving as the interim city manager since Mark Dixson resigned from the role during an executive session in October 2017.
The city council received about 10 applications for the position and decided to move forward with two in-person interviews, which were held during a special meeting of the council on Thursday morning. In addition to Queen, Kenai’s Finance Director Terry Eubank was also interviewed.
“We went through the applicant pool very carefully, and the decision by the city council was that she and Terry were the two finest candidates, by far,” said Soldotna Mayor Nels Anderson. “…I thought we had two really strong candidates and she was the one who the city council decided to offer the position to… We were just very fortunate to have someone in house that is pretty wonderful.”
The mayor didn’t get a vote in the process, but spoke in support of the council’s decision.
“She’s incredibly talented,” Anderson said. “(The council) have all had a deal of experience with her over a good period of time and she’s done some rather incredible things… She’s got all the things you want, and a personality that is wonderful. She’s adept at dealing with people.”
Queen is a graduate of Kenai Central High School and graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. She is also a Fulbright scholar, having pursued her Ph.D. research on earthquake risk in Instanbul, Turkey. She began working with the city in March 2007, as Soldotna’s city planner.
The next step is for the city council to negotiate and offer Queen a contract. Anderson said he doesn’t anticipate any problems, and would expect the contract be up for an official vote at the council’s Feb. 14 meeting.
Queen could not be reached for comment as of Friday afternoon.
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