In their meeting on Jan. 13 meeting, Bethel City Council officially offered the city manager position to Pete Williams.
Williams has been serving as interim city manager since September 2020. The position was left vacant after former manager Vincenzo “Vinny” Corazza stepped down in August amid the council’s frustrations with his performance.
Williams is no stranger to the job, having served as Bethel City Manager for two years before being fired in a split vote in 2019. Williams was also Bethel’s port director for many years.
Before the decision was made, Bethel Native Corporation CEO Ana Hoffman voiced her support for Williams in the "People-to-be-Heard" portion of the meeting. She said that he had brought stability to Bethel since his tenure as interim manager, citing his experience with the region and other entities in it.
"He knows how to navigate and communicate with local, state, tribal, and federal bureaucracies. He knows how to build relationships and find creative solutions to tackle problems unique to rural Alaska. Simply stated, he gets it," Hoffman said.
The decision comes after more than a month of executive session deliberations over the course of five meetings. Mayor Michelle DeWitt and council member Alyssa Leary both expressed that it had been a challenge to come to a final decision, but the council was lucky to have had two qualified candidates to choose between.