Two finalists for the job of Haines Borough Manager have withdrawn their applications. Dennis Koenig and Ken Decker were shortlisted by the assembly, along with two other candidates, at a meeting last week.
Koenig and Decker decided to remove themselves from the running after the assembly’s decision was reported in the press.
Dennis Koenig is current town manager in La Jara, Colorado. Last week, the Chilkat Valley News reported that Koenig had a number of ‘crude’ posts on his Facebook page. Today, Koenig withdrew his application.
Richard Fursman was contracted by the assembly to conduct the search for manager and police chief. He says Koenig withdrew because he felt that it would be hard to overcome the ‘negative opinions’ of him before he arrived.
Fursman says he conducts social media checks after the pool of candidates is narrowed to finalists. He says he talked to Koenig about the posts. He says Koenig told him they were a ‘running barb’ with a fellow military veteran. Fursman says the two would share ‘rather explicit’ posts back and forth to make light of conservative and liberal politics, and that the posts do not reflect Koenig’s personal values.
Fursman says Koenig felt people have already judged him and that it would be a waste of borough resources for him to visit Haines for further interviews.
Decker is county administrator in Caroline County, Maryland. Fursman says that Decker saw reports of the assembly’s discussion about the candidates in radio and newspaper outlets, and that he felt the process of the assembly openly vetting candidates ‘exposed people unfairly.’
The other two finalists the assembly selected are still in the running for the manager job. They are Mark Karet, director of administrative services in Hillsborough County, Florida, and William Seward, a Coast Guard director. Fursman says the assembly could choose to add more candidates to the finalist roster.
One finalist in the police chief search has also withdrawn from the running. Christian Carelli is a sergeant with the University of Michigan Police Department. Interim Borough Manager Brad Ryan says Carelli withdrew for personal reasons. Ryan says he hopes to add applicant Ed Casey as a finalist. If he accepts, Casey would be one of three finalists for the job.
Finalists for manager and chief are scheduled to visit Haines in May.