Snow forecast in Kenai

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2001

The balmy days of summer may have already begun on the peninsula, but there is Snow on the horizon. Linda Snow, that is. The current city manager of Petersburg will be offered the job of Kenai city manager today.

Wednesday night at a specially called meeting, the Kenai City Council voted unanimously to offer Snow the job of running the peninsula's largest city.

"I am so excited," Snow said minutes after the council's decision.

"I hope I'm calmer than this when they make the formal offer."

The Kenai council directed the current city manager, Rick Ross, to offer Snow a contract and during executive session defined the salary and benefits package parameters.

Snow currently makes $76,000 a year in Petersburg, a Southeast community she has managed for seven years.

"Salary is the last thing on my mind," Snow said. "As I told them last week, I wouldn't want to be paid any less than someone with my qualifications.

"I'm sure their offer will be fair. I'm not concerned about that."

Ross' current salary is $90,000, but that does not include a benefit package. After more than 20 years as police chief, Ross has an extensive retirement package. The manager before him, Tom Manninen, made $89,000, plus benefits. The salary range for Snow should be near that same range, though was only advertised as "depending on experience."

"I can tell you the council will never ever regret this decision," Snow said. "My entire goal is to continue the excellent quality of service that Rick Ross has provided. He's a tough act to follow, but walking in his footsteps is something to look forward to.

"It's obvious how people and the employees feel about the job Rick has done over the years."

Ross' retirement announcement in December put the city on the road to finding a replacement. Thirty-five hopefuls applied for the job. Snow and current Dillingham City Manager Chris Hladick were chosen as the two finalists and both were brought here last week for in-person interviews.

With Ross conducting the background checks on the candidates, Mayor John Williams said no other city manager applicants were ever more fully scrutinized.

In her first week on the job, Snow said, she will work to meet as many people as possible and get a feel for the nuts and bolts of the day-to-day workings at Kenai City Hall.

"I'm a very organized person. I need to understand the inner workings of the office," said Snow, who hopes to begin work on July 16. "I have to get a firm grasp on the city code, which I've already started doing on the Web site."

She said she'll also ask Ross to make a list of ongoing projects that demand her immediate attention.

Snow described herself as a person who does not come into a job and starts making drastic changes.

Her track record seems to support that, as her resume lists as references the current and two former mayors of Petersburg, several council members, the chief of police, public works director and superintendent of the Petersburg City School District, as well as Soldotna City Manager Tom Boedeker.

Snow, if she accepts the city's job offer, will be Kenai's 11th city manager, and the first woman to hold that position.

Snow spent seven years in Petersburg and nine in McGrath. She said it's always hard to leave a place that she has come to know.

"Petersburg is a great town, a great community. If I think about it for more than two minutes, I'll probably get nostalgic," she said. "It's hard when you get to really know and love a community. But I knew that, I factored that in when I applied for the Kenai job.

"I hope to be in Kenai a long, long, long time. I hope it works out like that."

The next meeting of the Kenai City Council will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. at city hall.

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