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Dillingham City Council offers three year contract to Acting City Manager Kimberly Johnson

Dillingham's city hall building. August 1, 2023.
Christina McDermott
Dillingham's city hall building. August 1, 2023.

Dillingham’s city council hired Acting City Manager Kimberly Johnson for a three-year contract last week.

At the council’s October 6 meeting, member Michael Bennet moved to offer Johnson the contract, with member Aksel Buholm seconding the motion. Mayor Alice Ruby recommended the present members – Bennet, Buholm, Kaleb Westfall, and Bert Luckhurst – postpone the decision until the two newly elected members start next month. The action item was not originally on the agenda.

“We have a brand new council coming on board and I think it’s fair to let them be involved in the selection of the manager,” she said.

Council member Buholm said that Johnson had accomplished a significant amount since she started in the role three months ago, and that, as a local, she knew the workings of Dillingham.

“In the 12 weeks Kim has been acting city manager - I’ve been on the council for almost six years - she and the staff have done more things in 12 weeks than what has been accomplished in six months,” he said.

Acting Manager Johnson said she had put in her application for the job, and while she wasn’t afraid of a selection process, was willing to hold the position and that it was up to the council to decide.

The council voted yes unanimously to the three-year contract offer. Council members did not respond to requests for comment on this decision.

In June, the council approved a $25,000 contract with Pearson Consulting to conduct a city manager search.

At the October 12 special meeting, the council voted to approve an amendment to Johnson’s existing contract, changing her semi-monthly pay to bi-weekly pay. The amendment stated that the term “normal semi-monthly” payroll, as stated in the original contract, was inaccurate.

In the meeting, Mayor Alice Ruby said that the former contract made the annual wage less than what it would be with the city’s normal, bi-weekly pay.

“So what this resolution does is correct the language in the contract and it also refers to the city’s normal biweekly payroll,” she said. The resolution, which passed unanimously, applies retroactively, to all months Johnson has worked in the role.

Her compensation is $145,280 annually - about $10,000 more than the original contract paid.

At the October 12 meeting, the council also swore in new council members Kevin McCambly and Stephen Carriere. Council member Aksel Buholm has finished his term.

Correction: This original article stated that Johnson had been offered the role of city manager. The headline and text has been updated to show that council voted to offer Johnson a three-year contract, not a formal offer for the city manager job title.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-842-2200.

Christina McDermott began reporting for KDLG, Dillingham’s NPR member station, in March 2023. Previously, she worked with KCBX News in San Luis Obispo, California, where she focused on local news and cultural stories. She’s passionate about producing evocative, sound-rich work that informs and connects the public.