The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

Seward says farewell to mayor, city clerk with reception


October 12, 2017 | View PDF

Tommy Wells/Seward Phoenix LOG

Outgoing mayor Jean Bardarson and city clerk Johanna Kinney (right) were honored with a reception at city hall on Oct. 9.

Almost 12 years after winning a coin toss that gave her a place on the Seward City Council, Seward mayor Jean Bardarson took her seat for the final time on Monday. It was, to say the least, an emotional experience for her.

"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to have been mayor," said Bardarson, fighting back tears during a ceremony honoring both her and outgoing Seward City Clerk Johanna Kinney. "I want to thank everyone for supporting me through the years."

After the death of former council member Margaret Branson in 2005, Bardarson was one of two candidates nominated to assume the vacant spot on the council. The voting members of the council found themselves – after trying more than 10 times-in a 3-3 deadlock. To break the tie, the two candidates agreed to a coin-toss.

"Depending on how you look at it, I won," said Bardarson.

That marked the second time in recent years the council has resorted to a coin toss to break a voting deadlock. In 2009, Linda Amberg won a seat on the council by winning a coin toss with Darryl Schaefermeyer.

Bardarson served three 2-year terms on the council before being elected mayor. After serving as vice-mayor from 2009, she was initially elected mayor in 2013 and won re-election in 2015.

"(She) served Seward impeccably well," Skip Reierson said during an open session at Monday's meeting. "We've been fortunate to have her. She's done a great job for all of us."

Like Bardarson, Kinney has been a long-time figure within the city, serving almost 13 years as the Seward City Clerk. She stepped down at the end of Monday's meeting to assume a position with the Alaska SeaLife Center.

Tommy Wells/Seward Phoenix LOG

Kinney began her career with the city on Dec. 17, 2004, as the Assistant City Clerk. On Jan. 1, 2011, she was hired to fill the clerk position when it became open.

"For almost 13 years, Johanna has performed her duties in the city clerk's office to the highest standards, and has always been held in the highest regard by her colleagues, friends and community members for her integrity and commitment to excellence," the seven members of the council wrote in a special proclamation that was presented to her.

"I've enjoyed my time with the city," Kinney told the large crowd gathered in city council chambers. "But don't worry, I'm not going away. I'm just going down the road a little bit."

Longtime councilwoman Marianna Kiel also left office. Kiel, the council's Vice Mayor, did not seek re-election.


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