Public Radio for the Central Kenai Peninsula
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Support public radio — donate today!

Seldovia city manager won’t renew contract

Seldovia City Manager Rachel Friedlander speaks at the city's 60th Anniversary Celebration as a First Class City in July, 2022.
Hope McKenney
Seldovia City Manager Rachel Friedlander speaks at the city's 60th Anniversary Celebration as a First Class City in July, 2022.

Seldovia’s city manager is leaving the city after two years on the job.

Rachel Friedlander said she’s relocating to the Lower 48 after a decade in Alaska and two years in the Kachemak Bay community. Her contract with the city expired this week.

“Because of family and also my pursuit of graduate studies in the field of public administration and policy, I made the decision not to renew my contract,” Friedlander said.

Originally from Florida, Friedlander first arrived in Alaska in 2012. She worked for a local nonprofit and commercially fished in Sitka before starting in local government, first in Juneau, then Homer.

She worked for the city manager of Homer for two years as executive administrative assistant and moved to Seldovia in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic to fill the city manager job.

“The percentage of female city managers is just a little over 14%. And that has been that way since the 1980s," Friedlander said. "So the fact that a city council took a chance on me as a young woman to help them serve Seldovia — it's just been a huge honor.”

Friedlander said one of her greatest accomplishments as city manager was to help the city create a formal partnership with the Seldovia Village Tribe and the City of Homer in late October.

“It takes all sorts of collaboration and relationships to make a community like Seldovia thrive,” she said.

Friedlander said she has been fortunate to live in rural Alaska communities like Seldovia. The community has about 400 year-round residents, half of whom live outside of city limits under the jurisdiction of the Seldovia Village Tribe.

“I think those experiences really helped me see that I'm interested in rural policy, domestic policy in our own country concerning rural communities and the resources that it takes and that they can't thrive on their own, that there is support needed from municipal neighbors all the way up to the state and federal government to help communities that have challenges like broadband and connectivity and power staying on and harbors where you don't have enough citizens to support maintaining that. And I'd like to be a part of those discussions,” Friedlander said.

She said she plans to continue on a path of public service in the Lower 48.

Friedlander’s last day on the job was Wednesday, Dec. 7. City Clerk Heidi Geagel is acting as interim city manager until the city hires a replacement.

Friedlander says she will help with the transition remotely through the end of the year.

In 2019, Hope moved to Unalaska/Dutch Harbor to work for Alaska's Energy Desk and KUCB — the westernmost public radio newsroom in the country. She has lived, worked and filed stories from California, New York, Bolivia, Peru, Cuba and Alaska.