Sherman promises to champion city employees if elected

Cathy Sherman, former director of the Cordova Historical Museum and the Cordova Public Library, has challenged Ken White for Cordova City Council Seat B. Photo by Jane Spencer/For the Cordova Times

Staffing cuts made to balance the budget have, instead, impeded the city’s ability to do business, says Cordova City Council candidate Cathy Sherman.

Sherman will challenge Councilman Ken Jones for Council Seat B in the coming Cordova Regular Election. Voting will take place March 3 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. at the Cordova Center.

The city has recently cut unfilled staff positions, relying on remaining staff to pick up the slack. These staffing changes were part of an effort to balance the city budget following dramatic state funding cuts. City council also boosted revenues with a 6 percent surtax to alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products.

However, the Cordova Center’s rent revenue has fallen as understaffing has made it difficult to market and stage events, Sherman said.

“I’d like to see us be more financially sustainable, and I don’t think more taxes are the answer,” Sherman said. “This is an expensive place to live as it is, and I’d like to see us driving some more economic development within the community… I value the city employees and how hard everybody works here, and I don’t think that the answer to our budget woes is cutting more positions.”

Once director of the Cordova Public Library and the Cordova Historical Museum, Sherman is now “retired.” In practice, this means she continues to do research and archival work at the museum as a volunteer. Sherman also served as acting city manager for a seven-month stint in 2009, as well as more briefly on other occasions. After 26 years as a city employee, Sherman now hopes for her own seat at the table.

“I want to be in the room where it happens,” Sherman said, quoting the stage musical “Hamilton.”

At a moment of remarkable polarization and combativeness in national politics, Sherman and Jones seem to have the opposite problem: neither takes much delight in the thought of beating the other. Sherman and Jones have both promised to prioritize fighting tax increases, pressing the state for increased ferry service and stepping up harbor renovations. Both candidates have stated that their opponent would be an excellent choice for the job. After Jones announced his candidacy, Sherman sent him a card affirming that their friendship would remain strong no matter what.

“We are, truly, longtime friends,” Sherman said. “He’s just a great young man. I’ve watched him grow up, and I love seeing how he’s developed his business sense. He’s a really intelligent businessman… But, the truth is, I differ with Kenny on how he looks at city services and city employees, and that’s the biggie for me.”

Sherman chose to run against Jones rather than against Councilman Jeff Guard, whose seat is also up for election, because her political differences with Jones are greater, she said.

“There’s council members who think the city is too fat and that positions can be cut,” Sherman said. “I just don’t believe that at all. I would add positions back if I could… I want to be a voice at the table.”