Palmer city manager job reopened after ‘potential’ open-meetings law violation

PALMER — City officials say they have restarted a city manager search after what they described as a “potential violation” of open meeting rules during closed-door deliberations over two finalists for the job.

Palmer City Manager John Moosey, who has held the position since 2020, is retiring in mid-June. The city council had considered five potential candidates for his replacement and narrowed the list to two finalists through a series of public meetings.

The city manager position, advertised with an annual salary of between $130,000 and $160,000, was reopened to applicants Thursday after the city council voted unanimously to restart the process.

The two finalists were deputy Anchorage municipal manager Kolby Hickel and Kim Zimmerman, a city manager in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, who lived in Eagle River while stationed at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson as an Army logistics officer.

Palmer Mayor Steve Carrington on Monday declined to provide details about the specific meeting violation, citing executive session rules that prohibit public disclosure.

“Due to a procedural and clerical error, the council unanimously moved to direct the Mayor and Attorney to Withdraw all offers for the City Manager position,” Carrington said in a statement. “This was due to a potential violation of the Open Meetings Act and was an inadvertent action taken by the Council in recent Executive Session.”

Officials did not say when the violation occurred or who was present.


Palmer code allows the council, mayor and support staff such as the city attorney to discuss issues in private executive sessions under certain circumstances, such as hiring deliberations. Officials are prohibited from taking official action during such meetings beyond giving instructions to a city attorney or labor negotiator.

Three Palmer City Council members were recalled through a 2022 ballot initiative after a group of residents accused them of violating the Open Meetings Act through occasional participation in a closed Facebook group.

Both Hickel and Zimmerman have been notified of the new posting and invited to reapply, Carrington said in the statement. Hickel could not be reached immediately for information on whether she plans to reapply; Zimmerman declined to comment.

City rules require whomever fills the role to move into Palmer city limits within 180 days of being hired.

Moosey’s last day as city manager is June 17. An interim manager is expected to be appointed if a new hire is not in place by that date, officials said.

Amy Bushatz

Amy Bushatz is a veteran journalist based in the Mat-Su covering Valley news for the ADN.