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About the City of Thorne Bay

About the City of Thorne Bay
Employees and Job Descriptions
Duties of the City Council
About the City of Thorne Bay



The City of Thorne Bay is a second-class City incorporated on August 2, 1982 under the laws of the State of Alaska. The community is divided geographically by Thorne Bay with the main town site (North Thorne Bay) and a majority of the services located on the North side of the bay with additional residential, commercial and industrial subdivisions located on the South side of the bay.


Thorne Bay encompasses 28.937 square miles, and is located on the East side of Prince of Wales Island, the third largest island in the United States. Thorne Bay is one of the larger community’s land wise in Southeast Alaska with approximately 40 percent of the population living in South Thorne Bay/ Goose Creek area and the remaining living in North Thorne Bay.  The 2016 population of Thorne Bay was 510 people. North Thorne Bay has mostly paved roads, city water, sewer service and trash collection.  South Thorne Bay /Goose Creek are serviced by public roads but have no city utility services.


Thorne Bay’s largest employers are the U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Southeast Island School District, City of Thorne Bay, Thorne Bay Market, Southeast Road Builders and Port and Tackle Shack at Thorne Bay.  The Barge Facility handles most all goods that arrive on Prince of Wales Island.  Two scheduled float plane services provide daily passenger and mail service to Ketchikan and other island communities.  The Inter Island Ferry provides service from Hollis to Ketchikan.


The economy is slowly shifting from the old logging camp days to a more balanced economy with tourism and retirement growing.  Thorne Bay still struggles to attract new business and lacks the jobs that will help retain young people in the community.   


The governing agency is the City Council. The Council is a seven member body elected at large by the general public or appointed by the Council to serve an unexpired term of a Councilmember who may cease to sit on the Council prior to a municipal general election. The Mayor is elected by the Council from within the City Council. The Council sets policies, passes laws and establishes the budget. The budget covers the fiscal year, July 1 through June 30.  The City Council meets the first and third Tuesdays of the month, except in October where meeting must align with city elections.


The City of Thorne Bay has a “Strong Mayor” form of government. The Mayor has the same legislative powers as other members of the Council and is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Administrative Officer for the City.


In Thorne Bay’s form of government, the Council collectively hires the City Administrator, City Clerk/Treasurer and City Attorney who serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Council also appoints the EMS Director, Fire Chief and Village Public Safety Officer. The Mayor or Mayor Designee hires or appoints all other municipal personnel. The Mayor may delegate authorities granted to him under the Municipal Code to a City Administrator or another designated employee when the administrator position is vacant.


The City has a Planning Commission, Strategic Planning Committee, Roads Commission and a Harbor Commission that advise the Council on various topics throughout the year.  In the absence of a committee the City Council fulfills the duties and responsibilities granted the committees.


Employees and Job Descriptions


Elected by the Council

The Finance and Administration Department is responsible for the general day-to-day operation and administration of the City. The Chief Administrative and Executive Officer of the City is the Mayor (or Vice Mayor in the absence of the Mayor). The Mayor is responsible for implementing City Council policies, hiring, suspending or removing City employees and administrative officers, supervising the enforcement of City law and administrative activities of the City, preparing an annual report on City affairs, serving as personnel officer for the city, and executing other powers and duties specified in Alaska Statutes, Title 29 or prescribed by the City Council. The Mayor may delegate a substantial portion of the actual duties of the office to the City Administrator, City Clerk or other designee. Responsibility, ultimately, still lies with the Mayor.


City Administrator

Appointed Position (hired by City Council)

The City Administrator hired by the City Council, or another designee acts as Chief Administrative Officer in the absence of the Mayor and Vice Mayor or at the direction of the Mayor. The responsibilities of this position include Planning Official (until he appoints, and the city council confirms another to perform that function), general day- to-day directing and supervising the Public Utility Departments, Harbor & Parks Departments and Streets & Roads Departments, functions, operations, activities, employees, and volunteers. And in the absence of a Public Works Supervisor or another Department Supervisor, the City Administrator shall assume all responsibilities as assigned to those Departments. This position prepares policy analysis and recommendations for the Mayor’s consideration, analyzes and evaluates special problems, conducts independent studies and makes recommendations on issues and projects, appears before groups and organizations as the City representative, determines long and short range City needs, recommends programs and solutions, handles written and verbal citizen complaints, inquiries and requests for service, provides staff support for the Mayor, City Council, commissions and boards, develops administrative policies and procedures, follows and coordinates City Council referrals and special projects, serves as facilitator for ad hoc groups, serves as trainer for organizational development programs, monitors the Alaska Administrative Code and state and national legislation, reviews and comments on legislation and regulations, represents the Mayor and/or the City Council at state and national meetings and conferences, and periodically evaluates staff and reviews employee performance. Additionally, this position is responsible for the writing and administration of all grants applicable and necessary for City functions including but not limited to Capital Improvement Projects, new construction, economic development opportunities, infrastructure / facilities upgrades, etc. as assigned by verbal or written direction from the Mayor and/or City Council.



Appointed Position (hired by City Council)

The City Attorney, hired by City Council, is responsible for the performance of all legal services for the City, including those of legal adviser to the City Council, Mayor and all departments and offices of the City. The major duties of the City Attorney also include enforcement and prosecution of City ordinances, representation of the City in all civil and criminal matters affecting the City, drafting of ordinances when requested, advising the City Council of all suits brought against the city, advising the City on all matters of law affecting the City, and rendering legal opinions on various subjects.


City Clerk & Treasurer

Appointed Position (hired by City Council)

City Clerk works under direction of the Mayor and City Council, pursuant to Municipal Code, Chapters 2.16 and 2.24, and the Alaska Statutes. The City Clerk is also appointed as the City’s Treasurer and is responsible for planning, scheduling, and performing a wide variety of specialized, confidential, complex, professional and programmatic work for the City Council. This executive non-exempt position is subject to appointment by the City Council. The City Clerk/Treasurer supervises the City Clerk’s office which consists of two employees in clerical positions (Finance Officer & Accounts Receivable Clerk). The City Clerk attends meetings of the governing body and its boards and committees as required and keep the journal; has custody of the official municipal seal; attest deeds and other documents; records and certifies all actions of the City Council; assures that notice and other requirements for public meetings are complied with and assure that public records are available for public inspection as required by law; manages municipal records and develop retention schedules and procedures for inventory, storage and destruction of records as necessary; maintains an indexed file of all permanent municipal records, provide for codification of ordinances, and authenticate or certify records as necessary; prepares agendas and agenda packets as required by the governing body; administers all municipal elections; assures that the municipality complies with 42 U.S.C. 1971-1974 (Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended); takes oaths, affirmations and acknowledgements as necessary; acts as the parliamentary advisor to the governing body; give the proper officials ample notice of the expiration or termination of any term of office and, when necessary, the conditions or requirements of all bonds, franchises, contracts or agreements.

City Treasurer Duties:

The City Clerk shall serve as the City Treasurer (Treasurer) and is the custodian of all city funds. All accounting functions and all matters pertaining to the maintenance of all accounts of the city; and the maintenance and care of all property used by the city are the responsibility of the treasurer. The Treasurer is responsible for the collection, custody and disbursement of all moneys from whatever source. All or some of the treasurer’s duties may be delegated to the Finance Officer or Accounts Receivable Clerk.

The Treasurer invests city money upon the directive of the Mayor or City Council; compiles the annual budget of the city based upon detailed department estimates and work programs and control it under direction of the mayor; prepares and submit to the mayor and council such financial reports and other data as may be required. The Treasurer performs other duties required by law, the governing body or the chief executive officer.

The City Clerk shall assume the powers and duties of the City Administrator during his or her excused absence from the municipality.



Finance Officer

Hired Position

The Finance Officer is hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Clerk. The Finance Officer works under the day-to-day supervision of the City Clerk or City Administrator when the City Clerk is unavailable.

The Finance Officer is responsible for processing payroll which consists of creating and issuing all payroll checks, preparing and submitting payroll reports and liability payments due for all payroll benefits and taxes on a bi-weekly or monthly basis as required. The Finance Officer pays vendors in a timely manner, maintain payroll and vendor files, PCE reports and financial grant reporting, set up and facilitation of benefits changes, and assists the City’s independent auditors with the annual audit of all financial books and records.

Additionally, the Finance Officer assists the City Clerk with the preparation of the Finance and Administration Department Budget (with assistance from the Accounts Receivable Clerk) and assists in the financial tracking of expenditures and revenue through the generation of Profit and Loss Statements to ensure budget figures are accurate and departments meet budgetary constraints on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis.

The Finance Officer may assist the City Clerk in performing HR and other Personnel duties including new employee reporting, garnishments, insurance, worker’s compensation claims and benefits, etc., and performs other duties as assigned. The Finance Officer reports to the City Clerk or, when unavailable, the City Administrator, who will determine work priorities and job assignments as required by the City.



Accounts Receivables Clerk

Hired Position

The Accounts Receivable Clerk is hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Clerk. The Accounts Receivable Clerk works under the day to day supervision and direction of the City Clerk, performing the duties of Receptionist and Accounts Receivable. This position supports the City Clerk in the daily operations of the Administrative and Finance Department and is responsible for performing basic cashiering functions, receptionist duties and clerical tasks, which include computer operation, fax/copying, answering the phones, providing information to the general public and maintaining files.

The Accounts Receivable Clerk assists the Finance Officer in the completion of their duties and performs other related duties as assigned. The Accounts Receivable Clerk reports to the City Clerk or, when unavailable, the Finance Officer, who will determine work priorities and job assignments as required by the City.


Library Department

Hired Position

The Library Department will be administered by a Library Supervisor (Librarian). The Librarian Supervisor is hired by the Mayor with recommendation of the City Administrator and Friends of the Library. The Librarian is a short-hour non-permanent employee as described in the Thorne Bay Municipal Code Title 2, Administration and Personnel; Chapter 2.24 Employees; Section 2.24.030 Employee.

The Librarian and appointed volunteers are responsible for the daily operation of the library and direct delivery of library services. The Librarian is the administrator for the Public Library Grant (PLAG), and any other funding sources used with library programs. Establishes implements and updates library policies and procedures. Will develop and operate within the Library’s fiscal budget allowances. Other duties to include assisting with appointment and training of volunteers, coordinating special events and programs, community public relations, reporting to City Council and obtaining continuing education units as required by the PLAG.



Appointed Positions

Volunteers are appointed by the Mayor, with recommendation of the City Administrator and the organization in which they are volunteering their services. Volunteers are appointed to assist as directed, the organization or department with whom they volunteer their service. Volunteers are expected to abide by all the standards spelled out in the “General Policies”, except as noted. Volunteers maybe compensated for their service through the allocation of a stipend. Volunteers are considered project employees; and shall not be entitled to benefits, including but not limited to annual leave, sick leave, holidays, health insurance, life insurance, or the city’s retirement program. Project employees shall be entitled to benefits required by State or Federal law including Worker’s Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, Medicaid and Social Security withholding. as per Thorne Bay Municipal Code 2.24.030 (d).


Hired Positions

The Janitorial position shall be administered by the Janitor. The Janitor is hired by the Mayor with recommendations of the City Administrator. The Janitor is responsible for cleaning all city facilities on an as need or routine basis. The Janitor shall work with the Billing Clerk or Receptionist to insure all the necessary cleaning supplies and paper items are properly stocked and available for immediate use. The position also performs other duties as assigned by the City Clerk or City Administrator.


Segregation of Duties
Thorne Bay City Clerk/Treasurer’s Office

All checks must contain two signatures, Administrator (Clerk in the absence of Administrator) & Mayor (Vice-Mayor in absence of Mayor).

Only when necessary should the City Clerk and City Administrator sign a check together without the Mayor or Vice Mayor signature.

The most important thing to remember in not having any single employee responsible for one or more of the following duties:  custody of assets, recording transactions, and authorizing transactions relating to cash.

Three-person office

Finance Officer (Payable/Payroll)

Customer Service

(Accounts Receivable)

City Clerk

(City Treasurer)

²  Approve and process vendor invoices



²  Process bi-weekly payroll

²  Distribute payroll

²  Disburse petty cash

²  Complete deposit slips & makes weekly bank deposits


²  Reconcile petty cash




²  Receive cash

²  Record accounts receivable entries


²  Record general ledger entries


²  Mail checks

²  Process Monthly Customer Invoices & Mail Statements


²  Authorize purchase orders


²  Authorize check requests



²  Reconcile bank statements


²  Approve payroll


²  Perform inter-bank transfers



²  Sign checks





Mayor and/or Vice Mayor


²  Authorize employee timesheets

²  Review bank reconciliations

²  Sign Checks


²  Sign checks

²  Review bank reconciliations

²  Perform inter-bank transfer




Public Works


Public Works Department

Hired Position

The Public Works Department will be administered by a Public Works Supervisor. The Supervisor hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Administrator, is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all municipal utilities, facilities, and roads, including supervision of all departmental personnel (water, sewer, solid waste, harbor, streets and roads, parks and recreation and general maintenance), coordinates, facilitates and administers (either through direct construction management or indirectly through the use of subcontractors) the City’s Capital Improvement Project Program, oversees operation and maintenance of all municipal owned utilities and facilities, and analyzes and evaluates special problems, conducts or causes to be conducted independent studies relating to infrastructure improvements and makes recommendations on issues and projects to department personnel, the Mayor and City Council. This position is directly responsible for 7 departmental budgets, setting the City’s annual construction/project schedule, serves as “purchasing agent” for all departments outside of Fire, EMS, VPSO and Finance and Administration. Additionally, this position may serve as interim City Administrator upon request from the Mayor and/or City Council.


Streets and Roads Department

Hired Position

The Streets and Roads Department will be administered by a Streets and Roads Supervisor. The Supervisor and staff hired by the Mayor with recommendation of the City Administrator, are responsible for street and road maintenance and construction including winter snow removal. This position is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the City’s heavy equipment fleet including excavators, dump trucks, backhoes and all other vehicles and mobile equipment used in the process of maintaining and constructing City streets and roads. This position is periodically assigned to other departmental projects as necessary and other duties as assigned including preparing and operating within the respective budgets.


Water / Sewer Department

Hired Position

The Water/Sewer Department will be administered by a Water and/or Sewer Supervisor. The Supervisor(s) and staff hired by the Mayor, with recommendation of City Administrator are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the City’s four core sanitation services: Water Treatment, Water Distribution, Sewage Collection, and Sewer Treatment. Duties include maintenance, minor and major schedule and unscheduled repairs throughout all four systems, monthly reporting to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation as required, direct sampling as scheduled for water quality and wastewater effluent quality compliance, implementation of a preventative maintenance schedule, construction of new water distribution mains and residential/commercial service connections and wastewater collection mains and residential/commercial service connections. And other duties as assigned including preparing and operating within the respective budgets.


Solid Waste Department

Hired Position

The Solid Waste Department will be administered by a Solid Waste Supervisor The Supervisor and staff hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Administrator, staff are responsible for the maintenance and operation of all refuse collection equipment, including minor repair and regular inspection of the garbage truck, and maintenance and operation of the City landfill and the collection and disposal of refuse generated by utility users, collection of scale fees, commercial tipping fees and sales tax at the landfill from the surrounding communities, private contractors and residents who utilize the facility. Department also facilitates the community’s participation in island- wide recycling and/or household hazardous waste events. The supervisor is responsible for accurate cash handling and reporting of fuel logs and other duties as assigned including preparing and operating within the respective budgets.


Harbormaster – Parks and Recreation Department

Hired Position

The Harbormaster – Parks and Recreation Department will be administered by a Harbormaster – Parks and Recreation Supervisor. The staff is hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Administrator, are responsible for the maintenance and operation of the harbormaster office and City dock facilities, including the public restroom, boat docks (main Harbor and Davidson Landing), boat launch ramps and all harbor parking areas and the public access ramp and airplane float and are responsible for enforcing the provisions of the City harbor ordinances and operates / maintains the City’s Harbormaster boat. Additionally, the Harbormaster assists other Public Works Departments and projects as assigned. The Harbormaster and staff are also responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of City Parks and City Public Lands including the ordinances pertaining to their uses. And other duties as assigned including preparing and operating within the respective budgets.




Village Public Safety Officer

Appointed Position by the Haida/Tlingit Central Council

The VPSO Program, accepted and appointed by the City Council with recommendation of Mayor and City Administrator, perform the city-wide functions of planning and coordinating health and safety issues, investigating and reporting health and safety matters to the City Council; investigating and recommending to the City Council ordinances or resolutions necessary to protect the health and safety of local citizens, ticketing abandoned vehicles, responding to animal control reports, inspecting and ticketing Code violations and other duties as assigned by the Mayor of his designee.


Emergency Services Coordinator

Hired Position

The Emergency Services will be administered by an Emergency Services Coordinator. The Coordinator is hired by the Mayor with recommendation of City Administrator, assists the Fire and EMS Captains with paperwork and acts as the liaison to the Administration Department, ensures state and federal compliance for all licensing requirements for Fire and EMS Departments, submit reimbursement requests to applicable health insurance carriers or Medicaid, organizes volunteer shifts and maintains calendar of schedules, works closely with EMS, Fire and Administration departments to ensure coordination and is responsible for dispatch week night evenings and organizes volunteer shifts for weekends and holidays. Additionally, the coordinator researches and applies for grant and training opportunities to improve Fire and EMS services and equipment.


Emergency Medical Services Rescue Captain

Appointed Position

The EMS Department Operations will be administered by an Emergency Medical Services Rescue Captain. The Captain is appointed by the City Council with recommendation of the Mayor. The Captain and appointed volunteer staff are responsible for providing emergency medical response, procedures, and treatment. The Captain is responsible for determining the organization of the department; making monthly reports to the City Council; the care and maintenance of department property, files and records establishing, maintaining and enforcing standard operating procedures for operation of the department; administering the care and maintenance of all department property; keeping required inventory record of all department property; submitting department annual budget request to Billing Clerk, ensuring that the department meets all pertinent state and federal regulations and laws, coordinating for purchases and volunteer dispatch / duty schedules.


Fire Chief

Appointed Position

The Fire Department Operations will be administered by a Fire Chief. The Fire Chief is appointed by the City Council with recommendation of the Mayor, The Fire Chief and appointed volunteer staff are responsible for extinguishing fires, protecting life and property against fire, rescuing persons endangered by fire, and promoting fire prevention within the community. The Fire Chief and staff respond and assist with emergency medical incidents, search and rescue operations, and miscellaneous City emergencies. The Fire Chief is responsible for determining the organization of the department; establishment, maintenance and enforcement of standard operating procedures for department operations; the care and maintenance of department property, files and records; maintenance of communication arrangements and equipment for reporting emergency situations; making monthly reports to the City Council; keeping required inventory record of all department property, assisting law enforcement officers in fire investigations; submitting department annual budget request to the Billing Clerk, and ensuring the department is registered with the State Fire Marshal as a formally constituted fire department.


Duties of the City Council


Alaska Statutes Title 29 identifies the duties and responsibilities of the City Council.  Below is a description of those duties.  


You can access the full Title 29 of the Alaska Statutes here:  AS Title 29 – Updated 2018

Explanation of AS Title 29 – LOGON

Council members are responsible for management of the city’s affairs and are held answerable to the community they serve. Title 29 of Alaska Statutes authorizes municipal governing bodies to perform many duties. Some of the more typical duties include the following:

• Adopt a budget and file required reports with the state

• Adopt a code of ordinances and make the code available to the public

• Establish rules of procedure for the council

• Maintain a public record of meetings

• Establish election procedures

• Acquire, manage, control, use, and dispose of real and personal property

•Provide for the levying of taxes

•Establish, alter, or abolish municipal departments

•Provide for fines and penalties

•Prepare a capital improvements program (CIP)

•Exercise eminent domain (that is, condemn private property for a public use)

•Hire, or confirm the hire of, the police chief, clerk, treasurer, and attorney (depending on the language in the local code)

•Establish a personnel system

•Issue bonds

•Grant, renew, or extend a franchise

•Evaluate the city administration and/or manager (In some cases, the mayor may have this responsibility.)

A city council might not actually perform all these duties, but all city councils have the authority to do so, if they choose. For example, a small city may choose not to exercise eminent domain, issue bonds, or grant a cable television franchise. A city council has other important duties in addition to those listed above. For example:

•Hear and evaluate public testimony

•Assess the need and demand for city services

•Assess public opinion on taxes

•Plan for economic development

•Plan for the future and the well-being of the community

•Hear and respond to citizens’ concerns

•Resolve residents’ problems

•Lobby for grants and funds

•Perform ceremonial duties



Almost everyone in a small community has an opinion about the council and what it does. Residents often view the council favorably or unfavorably depending on whether or not their own personal needs are addressed or met. So, just what is the council’s role in the community?

The council acts on behalf of all residents to promote the good of the entire community. It is similar to the board of directors of a corporation, except the council’s goal is not to maximize profits to shareholders but to maximize the delivery of services to as many people as possible at the lowest possible cost. To achieve this goal, the council must:

•Manage public funds by planning and budgeting how much money the city will receive and spend.

•Oversee hiring, firing, and evaluating of staff. (The mayor or manager may reserve this authority, but the council must evaluate the mayor and/or manager.)

•Hear citizen complaints and concerns.

•Evaluate projects, proposals, and ideas brought forward by residents, staff, and others.

•Lobby for grants and funds from outside sources and for public support of its proposals.

•Determine the services needed by residents and seek to provide those services.

•Plan for the future and well-being of the community by creating and implementing land use plans, economic development plans, and capital improvement plans.

•Establish policies that provide guidelines for the management and administration of public affairs.


The city council is entrusted with upholding the public interest. The public interest seeks the maximum benefit to the community at large, rather than to selected groups or individuals. It is different from a “special interest”, which exists when one person or group of persons seeks to benefit from a council action without regard for the larger interests of the community. To achieve the greatest good for the community with each decision, council members must weigh how that decision affects the public interest and the entire community, rather than only on how it affects a particular individual or group.

Thorne Bay Certificate of Encorporation

Thorne Bay Community Profile

Alaska’s Open Meetings Law

DCRA Community Profile Maps

AS Title 29 – Updated 2018

Conducting Effective Public Meetings

Council Meeting Calendar 2018-19

Public Hearing Policy Quasi Judicial – ORDINANCES
Public Hearing Policy Quasi Judicial – PLANNING COMMISSION
Roberts Rules Cheat Sheet – How to run a meeting


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