Council offers city manager job to Glenn Steckman
The Nome Common Council came out of executive session at a special meeting Sept. 30 and voted unanimously to offer Nome’s city manager position to Glenn Steckman of Reading, Pa.
Steckman is one of three applicants, which included John Handeland, who has served as interim city manager for the past year, and Randy Robertson of Aberdeen, Md. where he is currently city manager.
A week ago, in executive session, the Council instructed city staff to negotiate a contract with Robertson, but he then turned it down, according to Councilman Jerald Brown.
Because of the time difference between Alaska and Pennsylvania, Steckman had not been notified of his selection Monday evening.
The Council increased the reimbursement for moving expenses from the advertised $5,000 to $10,000, according to Bryant Hammond, city clerk, and raised the annual salary to $140,000.
During public comment before the executive sessions commenced, Andrew Lee took the podium to urge the Council to select one of the two out-of-town applicants rather than Handeland, a lifetime local resident.
The Council faced a hard choice, Lee started off. “All I have to say about that is as much as I like and respect John, I think … right now it’d be nice to have a fresh perspective and not that I’m excited about the other two candidates, but I think they would bring a new network and new perspective and be single-mindedly focused on the position. Maybe they would be able to do the job for two or three years and then shake things up more than an internal hire would be able to do,” Lee told the Council. “Right now we need something different from what we’re at. So I think, I think [Handeland] would be a status quo candidate.”
Before going into executive session Brown spoke up with a confession on behalf of the Council that the body had broken the public meetings law during a previous meeting.
Concerning the regular Council meeting held Sept. 23, chaired by Brown in Mayor Richard Beneville’s absence, the Council had taken action during an executive session. The Council may discuss personnel, legal and financial matters in private; however, action items must be conducted in public after the Council has exited the secret session. The Council had violated the open meetings act by directing staff to negotiate a contract with Robertson during the Sept. 23 executive session, according to Brown.
This meant the public was not informed at the time that the Council had offered the job to Robertson—involving public funds without a Council vote before the public, as demanded by law.
Handeland thanks employees
Tuesday morning Handeland, who was turned down twice and coming up on a one-year anniversary of his appointment as interim city manager, issued a letter to all City employees. He thanked them for their dedication to the community and their support of him as he “worked to be supportive of you and the good things each of you do for the City of Nome.”
“When this position came open a year ago, I did not apply,” Handeland continued. “It was only with a great amount of soul searching that I agreed to submit my application in a subsequent round, after being encouraged to do so. Front and center in my decision was my love for Nome, and my desire to work with a group of capable city staff members for the betterment of our community,” Handeland continued.
“We have done good things and made significant changes and improvements during our last year, and for your part in it, you have my most sincere appreciation and humble thanks,” he wrote. “The Council has chosen to go down a different path. I accept that.”
Handeland will stay on during the next few weeks or so to support employees and the needs of the community.
“Then my time with the City will be finished,” Handeland said. “But until that time, I maintain the duties, responsibilities and authority of this office,” he finished.
W. Glenn Steckman III has been in municipal government, according to his resume, since 1996 when he served as councilman in Ocean City, Md. He lists a job earlier in his career as circuit riding town manager in Dorchester County Md., where he worked with six municipalities and 22 elected officials. He attended all six towns’ council meetings and served as their liaison to all county and state agencies. In the two years he worked there, he secured $700,000 in grants which provided a playground, a new comprehensive plan and a road construction project, according to his resumé.
He lists experience as county administrator in King and Queen County; Virginia Town administrator in Tiverton, Rhode Island; Town manager, Laurel, Del.
Steckman pursued his education at St. Mary’s Seminary and holds a B. A. degree in philosophy, a M.A. in religious education and M. A. in theology, all in Maryland, and an M. S. in management and supervision at Wilmington, University in Delaware. Additionally, Steckman holds a certificate in local government excellence from the Institute of Public Administration, University of Delaware.
In his cover letter, Steckman said, “I have spent much of my career dealing with communities with challenging infrastructure and financial problems, and correcting their problems. In Reading, Pa., an Act 47 (bankruptcy) city, the community was 65 percent Latino, 14 percent African-American, and 23 percent Caucasian,
“I am a strong manager who has the budgetary and other financial skills that work in any size community,” Steckman wrote.