Kenai River management board seeks member

The Kenai River Special Management Area board is seeking applicants to fill an open position.

Former member Andy Szczesny resigned earlier this month, leaving the board with an open position. The members debated the best method to fill the seat, which lasts until June 30, 2017, at the board’s monthly meeting on Nov. 12.

Because Szczesny was the only working guide on the board — member Joe Connors is a former guide and owns a guide and charter business, but does not guide himself — several board members emphasized the importance of the new member representing the guide industry’s perspective.

The board can select from the current application list and any new applications that come in from the public. After an interview process, the new member should be in place by Jan. 15, 2016. The board currently has five applications, two of which are from guides, said Jack Blackwell, the area supervisor for the Parks & Outdoor Recreation Division of the Department of Natural Resources.

Kenai City Manager Rick Koch recommended advertising the position to solicit applications from the public for two weeks. At the next meeting, the board members will make suggestions for appointment. The board is allowed to appoint someone from the list of previous applicants but will include applications from the public.

“I’d rather fight that than (have people) say, ‘You didn’t give me a chance,’” said board chair Ted Wellman. “We’re allowed to do that, but (if we advertise) we can say, ‘We gave you a chance and you sat on your hands.’”

The board tentatively scheduled interviews for early in December.

Reach Elizabeth Earl at elizabeth.earl@peninsulaclarion.com.

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