Stephanie Queen. (Courtesy photo)

Queen to step down as Soldotna city manager

The resignation comes as Kenai finalizes negotiations with potential city manager Terry Eubank

Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen will not renew her employment contract with the City of Soldotna, set to expire in February, the city announced Tuesday. Her departure will come at the end of a two-year extension to a three-year contract.

Queen has served as Soldotna’s city manager since 2018 and previously served as the city’s director of economic development and planning. She holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Cornell University and grew up in Kenai.

Queen, in a Nov. 29 letter to Mayor Paul Whitney and Soldotna City Council members, said her decision not to renew her contract with the city came “after much thought and deliberation.” She went on to state her appreciation for the city’s employees, who she said are “central” to Soldotna’s operations.

“It has been my great honor to serve our community these past fifteen years, and I could not have imagined the opportunities and benefits I’d receive working for the City of Soldotna,” Queen wrote. “I am so proud of all we’ve accomplished together, and the strong foundation we’ve laid for the exciting opportunities that are yet to come.”

Per a press release from the City of Soldotna, the Soldotna City Council will begin planning the recruitment process for a new city manager during the council’s Dec. 14 meeting.

“We will greatly miss Ms. Queen’s leadership, and I thank her for making the City of Soldotna a better place to live and do business,” Whitney is quoted as saying in the release. “I wish her well on your future endeavors, and we will always have a place in our heart for her contribution to the welfare of the citizens of Soldotna.”

Among Queen’s undertakings during her time as city manager were the City of Soldotna’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and distribution of federal relief funds and the planned construction of a city field house, which Soldotna voters overwhelmingly supported during the October municipal election.

Queen’s resignation came a day after successful contract negotiations between the City of Kenai and Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank, who applied to become Kenai’s next city manager. Kenai City Council members first offered the position to current Kenai Police Chief David Ross, however, contract negotiations held on Nov. 22 were “unsuccessful.”

Current Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander, who has held the position since 2017, announced earlier this year that he would not would not renew his employment contract with the city, set to expire in January.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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