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Baisden to retire as chief of staff

Kenai Peninsula Borough

The Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor’s chief of staff is retiring this summer.

James Baisden says he’s leaving the borough on June 1. It’s in the middle of Mayor Charlie Pierce’s second term, but Baisden said his leaving has nothing to do with the mayor’s timeline.

“It’s all about where I am now in my life," he said.

Baisden has been Pierce’s chief of staff since 2018. Before that, he was involved with the Kenai and Nikiski fire departments. Most recently, Baisden ran an unsuccessful campaign against Rep. Ron Gillham for the District 30 House seat last year.

“My family and I, we’ve decided that we want to spend the summer together," he said. "And I’ve got three kids, one getting ready to go to college. So we’re looking forward to our next chapter, and there just comes a time in your life and that time is now for me.”

He said he doesn’t have any plans for next steps, besides staying local and spending some time in the Lower 48 with family.

“Retirement for me doesn’t mean that I’m not going to work," he said. "I’m just going to be probably looking for something else after I get done having a fun summer.”

The mayor is looking for a new chief of staff to replace Baisden.

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