Elizabeth Bakalar wins praise from Bethel city council

Libby Bakalar (Photo by Jeremy Hsieh/KTOO)

The Bethel City Council was impressed by city attorney candidate Elizabeth “Libby” Bakalar. Bakalar will be invited for an on-site interview, scheduled the same day that the three candidates for city manager make their visit.

Council member Mark Springer made the motion to invite Bakalar to Bethel while praising her qualifications.

“You really can’t do much better than someone who has come from the biggest and best law firm in the state of Alaska, which is the Alaska Department of Law,” Springer said.

Related: Bethel City Council considering Libby Bakalar for city attorney

Bakalar has served 12 years with the State of Alaska in various capacities.

“I think I’ve represented almost every agency in the state,” Bakalar said in her interview.

She said that she has a grasp on the specific issues that Bethel faces, like local option alcohol regulation, and she also has experience with elections and drafting legislation.

Council members did not ask Bakalar about her blog, “One Hot Mess Alaska,” or her lawsuit against Gov. Mike Dunleavy for wrongful termination. After the interview, several council members said that they only cared about her professional qualifications.

“She’s got a blog, I’ve got a blog,” Springer said.

“Being involved with all of that, she’s probably developed some tough skin,” said council member Alyssa Leary.

“I’m interested in what an employee will do for the City of Bethel,” said council member Michelle DeWitt. “All employees have other areas of interest, or issues or topics outside of employment.”

Bakalar also stated that while she would work remotely from Juneau, she would be happy to fly to Bethel six to seven times a year or more. If hired, Bakalar said that she could start work as the City of Bethel Attorney by March. She is scheduled to visit Bethel from Feb. 10-12, along with the three finalists for the city manager job.