The Bethel City Council will conduct two important interviews on Feb. 10. They will assess the finalists for both the city manager and city attorney positions in person, starting at 6 p.m. in interviews open to the public.
To fill the city attorney position, the council will be talking to one candidate: Elizabeth “Libby” Bakalar. Bakalar served 12 years as an attorney in the Alaska Dept. of Law, where she became a senior assistant attorney general. Bakalar was fired from that job by Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration in 2018.
Bakalar believes that she was terminated because of her blog, “One Hot Mess Alaska”, in which she often criticized President Donald Trump. She is suing Dunleavy, claiming that the firing was a violation of her right to freedom of speech.
Many members of Bethel City Council were impressed by Bakalar because of her breadth of experience in municipal law. Council members Mark Springer and Michelle DeWitt said that they did not care about her blog or lawsuit against the governor.
There is also only one candidate coming in to interview for the city manager position: Vincenzo “Vinny” Corazza. Corazza currently works as the city engineer for Temple Terrace, Florida, a town with a population of 26,000. He has previously served as city administrator for the north slope village of Nuiqsut, which has a population of 423. The council had invited two other candidates for city manager to the in-person interviews, but they declined, saying that they had accepted other jobs.
There is a meet-and-greet open to the public tonight. You can chat with both Elizabeth “Libby” Bakalar and Vincenzo “Vinny” Corazza from 5 to 6 p.m. inside Bethel City Hall. At 6 p.m., the council will conduct interviews with both Bakalar and Corazza that are open to the public.