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Unalaska council offers city manager position to Thomas

February 9th 7:19 pm | Jim Paulin Print this article   Email this article  

After considering four candidates for city manager the Unalaska City Council on Sunday voted unanimously to offer the job to Thomas E. Thomas, a substitute school teacher from Illinois with extensive experience in public administration. His next step is to negotiate a contract with the mayor, according to interim City Manager Nancy Peterson.

According to his resume, Thomas worked as the city manager for Rock Island, Ill., from 2011 to 2016, and since then, he's been teaching elementary and junior high math and English classes.

According to local media reports from the Rock Island area, Thomas resigned with six months severance pay soon after the collapse of the deal to bring a Walmart Supercenter to the city of 40,000, surrounded by four Walmarts in the Quad Cities area spanning Ilinois and Iowa.

The deal, in the works since 2012, collapsed in 2016 when Walmart pulled out. It was projected to bring in $1.3 million annually in sales taxes, and to keep Rock Islanders from shopping at the Walmart in Davenport.

The Walmart deal was a top priority for the mayor of Rock Island, as the city invested $15 million in the project, which was complicated late in the game by the unearthing of fuel tanks from a former gas station on the 23-acre site.

Before the Rock Island job, Thomas was the chief administrative officer for Macon, Georgia, from 2008 to 2011. From 2003 to 2008, he was the assistant county administrator for the County of Dougherty, Georgia.

Thomas received a bachelor's degree in political science from Valdosta State University in 1990, and a master's in public administration from Georgia College and State University in 1992.

In an interview with community leaders in the city council chamber on Friday, Thomas said his strong points include financial analysis and reviewing documents in his office. He is married with children. The community leaders were Tammy Fowler Pound from the school board, James Kaech from Iliuliuk Family and Health Services, Steve Black of the American President Lines, Vincent Tutiakoff Sr. of the Ounalashka Corporation, and Thomas Robinson of the Qawalangin Tribe.

The candidates toured the community, and met with local residents and city officials.

The other candidates were:

Warren P. Brown, director of human resources and loss prevention/revenue enhancement, for Huron County, in Norwalk, Ohio. He holds a bachelor's degree in education, according to the Jan. 16 announcement from the city.

Jefferey G. Causey, director of finance and operations for the Inter-Faith Council for Social Services, in Carrboro, N.C. He is a certified public accountant.

Erin W. Reinders, assistant city manager in Unalaska, a position she's held since 2015. Previously, she was the Unalaska city planning director. She has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and anthropology, and a master's degree in urban affairs and public policy. She is a certified public planner.

The candidates were accompanied by the city's search consultant, Steve Vietch, of HRGov. If hired, Thomas would fill the position vacated last year when David Martinson resigned with two months of severance pay following about two years of employment.


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