Mike Navarre, Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor, announced Monday that Paul Ostrander will serve as his chief of staff.
Navarre offered Ostrander the job on Monday, his first day of office after taking over the position for David Carey, who did not run for re-election.
Ostrander, 44, has lived on the Peninsula for 43 years. He was the borough’s land management officer from November 2002 to February 2006 before leaving to serve as vice president of Alaska Wireless Communications. He also owns Rural Wireless Consulting Group, which is still a viable company, but just no longer active, he said.
He said he has already devoted 100 percent of his time toward the chief of staff position.
“I’m real excited about it,” Ostrander said Tuesday. “It is a great opportunity and, like I told Mike, his administration is in a position to do a lot of really great things for the borough and I am just excited to have the opportunity to be a part of it.”
Navarre was previously undecided about having a chief of staff or hiring some other type of administration.
“I didn’t want to jump into it by establishing another position in the mayor’s office and Paul was available,” he said. “He has got a great set of skills that I think fill a need and we will evaluate things as we go along.”
Ostrander was “well respected” by other borough employees when he worked there last, Navarre said.
“I think he will help me work within the departments in the borough and with the assembly and he is also a good communicator so he can also help with the public communication parts of things,” he said.
However, the duties of the position will likely evolve as time goes on, Navarre said.
“What I wanted in a chief of staff is someone to help administer the borough, make decisions, coordinate with the departments and service areas and sort of extend the mayor’s reach,” he said. “He will have complete authority for management decisions and ... if I am gone, he’ll be in charge. That’s another reason why I decided to go with a chief of staff.”
Navarre hasn’t made any other personnel changes as of yet, he said.
“At this point I am just really getting settled in,” he said. “As I said, I go about things, usually — the chief of staff notwithstanding — fairly deliberately.”
The new mayor hasn’t yet been able to host a meeting with all of the current borough staff, but expects such a meeting in the near future.
“I have met with some of (the department heads) and talked with some of them, so that all happens over the course of the next couple of weeks and I am not expecting any drastic changes,” he said.
Brian Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.