Sitka Tribe Of Alaska’s Top Manager Resigns

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s general manager is leaving for a similar job in Washington state.

Ted Wright announced his resignation in a press release.

Wright has been general manager of Sitka’s tribal government for about two years. He held the same position from 1992 to 1995

He says he loves the community, but it’s time to move on. And he says he’s leaving for personal reasons, not pressure from inside the organization.

“A close friend passed away recently and several others have over the years. My grandmother and mother both passed away years ago. I have close friends here, but I feel like I can visit them. Other than that, (in) Sitka, I don’t feel happy in the ways I need to in the next part of my life,” he says.

Wright’s last day on the job is Nov. 4th.

He starts later that month as general manager of the Stillaguamish Tribe in Arlington, Washington, about 50 miles north of Seattle.

The Sitka tribe has had financial problems in recent years.

“There’s some debt that’s accumulated. It’s rolled over from one year into the next. And it was really hard to see that because of the financial accounting software and the reports we were getting from that,” he says.

Ted Wright
Ted Wright

Wright says spending cutbacks and a new accounting system have put the tribe on the road to paying off its debts.

“The good news is we know what the problem is. We’re fixing it. We’re keeping everyone employed for the most part and we’ll going on a much more solid foundation,” he says.

The tribe announced this (last) week that the debt, federal cutbacks and the government shutdown have led to a spending freeze in some areas.

He also says some tribal employees may have to be furloughed.

Tribal Council Chairman Michael Baines says Wright came on board “at a very challenging time and had many difficult situations to resolve.”

In a press release, Baines says Wright began the process leading to construction of new tribal office space. He also oversaw refurbishment of the Sheet’ka Kwáan Naa Kahídi Community House and redesigned its goals.

Baines says Wright also developed new leadership within the STA, and leaves behind “a capable management team with new directors in almost every department.”

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Ed Schoenfeld is Regional News Director for CoastAlaska, a consortium of public radio stations in Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Petersburg and Wrangell. He primarily covers Southeast Alaska regional topics, including the state ferry system, transboundary mining, the Tongass National Forest and Native corporations and issues. He has also worked as a manager, editor and reporter for the Juneau Empire newspaper and Juneau public radio station KTOO. He’s also reported for commercial station KINY in Juneau and public stations KPFA in Berkley, WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and WUHY in Philadelphia. He’s lived in Alaska since 1979 and is a contributor to Alaska Public Radio Network newscasts, the Northwest (Public Radio) News Network and National Native News. He is a board member of the Alaska Press Club. Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, he lives in Douglas.