JUDITH Anne SLAJER, "Judi"
JUDITH Anne SLAJER, "Judi"
Judi Slajer is a longtime Alaskan, mother, cancer survivor, dedicated public servant, and local government pioneer who worked for decades to help create the effective governance structures in Alaska. Slajer was involved in the creation of lasting organizations such as the Alaska Association of Municipal Clerks, the Alaska Municipal Bond Bank Authority, and the Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool. In recognition of her significant contributions to local government in Alaska, Slajer was honored with the Outstanding Contribution Award by the Alaska Municipal League (AML).
In 1964, Slajer became the Borough Clerk for the Ketchikan Gateway Borough– its first employee. She was instrumental in the administration and set-up of the new Borough. In August 1977, after 14 years as Borough Clerk, Slajer was appointed to be first-ever woman Borough Manager in Alaska. In 1980 Slajer moved to Fairbanks with her children and in 1982 earned a BS majoring in finance and management from UAF. After receiving her degree, Slajer spent four years managing the second largest government budget in Alaska, for then-Mayor Knowles and Manager, Barbara Steckel. Budgeting soon became one of Slajer’s major passions as she led the Muni to receive a first-ever Award of Excellence in Budgeting from a national peer association, Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA). Slajer moved back to Fairbanks in 1986 to join her to-be second husband Tom Rosadiuk. After a term teaching governance courses for UAA in rural Alaska, she was hired by Mayor Juanita Helms as the CFO for the Borough (FNSB). She served in that capacity until she retired in 1997 after 32 years in local government service.
Slajer has been a self-starter and charted her own path to become the first female borough manager in the state. During her career, Slajer has mentored many women through her direct role in professional organizations and by fostering and encouraging her employees during her decades in local government.
Slajer was one of 13 other local government clerks who founded the Alaska association of municipal clerks (AAMC) in 1965, comprised of borough, city, and village clerks from across the state committed to the continued growth and development of the municipal clerk profession. Slajer cherishes her role in the development of this organization because of the countless opportunities it offers to so many participants. She and the Kenai Borough Clerk, Frances Brymer, conspired and flew to New York to attend a week-long national clerks training institute hosted at the University of Syracuse and the International Institute of Municipal Clerks. They returned with a ‘we can do this in Alaska’ attitude, and thus the ninth-in-the-United States clerk’s training institute was created. Over the past 40+ years, this training session has been attended by many hundreds of Alaska municipal clerks, deputies, and other local government professionals to enrich their education and provide each with an opportunity to learn from their counterparts to ensure efficient and effective local government operations. Slajer was also the first non-grandfathered, municipal clerk in Alaska to earn the coveted national designation as a certified municipal clerk.
In the mid-70’s, Slajer participated with Dave Rose and others to mirror the State of Massachusetts in helping Alaska create its own municipal bond bank (now AMBBA). Operated by the State, AMBBA is a public corporation that aids authorized Alaska-government borrowers in the financing of capital improvement projects such as schools, water and sewer systems, public buildings, harbors, and docks. At present AMBBA has assets of approximately $1.2 billion.
As Borough Manager in Ketchikan, Slajer had a great time making in-roads in resolving traffic congestion problems in Ketchikan, initiating and completing the International Airport master plan, improving parking at the local high school, negotiating with the Inland Boatmen’s Union, discussing animal control with residents while at the grocery store or engaging in a complete re-assessment of the entire borough. It was always lots of fun as well as challenging.
For many years as a member of the AML Legislative Committee, Slajer worked with the legislature as well as state and local government officials across the state to create the process to select State lands for community development, create the bond authority and investment pool, make significant improvements in the election law, revamp the school foundation funding, and many other legislative changes to improve the operations of local government. Unique to Alaska local government, Slajer may be the only person to have been elected President, at different times, to three peer-professional associations: Municipal Clerks, Managers, and Finance Officers.
Slajer’s career continued to blossom during her 12 years as CFO at the Fairbanks Borough (FNSB), where she worked with several notable Mayors: Juanita Helms, Jim Sampson, and finally Hank Hove, where they revamped the financial management system, financed the purchase of the Borough office building, upgraded the municipal landfill, built several schools and as well as other challenging projects. Slajer designed and brought home to Fairbanks the coveted national Award of Excellence in Budgeting. Slajer served as one of the first appointees to the board of the Alaska Municipal League Investment Pool (AMLIP)— which she and others helped launch—a non-profit corporation to provide short-term investment options to maximize revenue for boroughs, cities, school districts, and other Alaska government entities. AMLIP holds more than $2.0 billion in assets under management today.
Balancing a career while raising a family as a single mother (Charles and Slajer divorced in 1976), Slajer managed to take weekend and night classes offered through the local community college and by UAA in Ketchikan. At the age of 38, after earning over 80 credits, she moved to Fairbanks to pursue her bachelor’s degree with her two daughters, Franczeska, who was entering middle school at the time, and Veronica, a recent high school graduate. Judi and Veronica enrolled and attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks at the same time, and Slajer completed majors in Finance and Management graduating in 1982.
Post-retirement, Slajer and Tom moved from Fairbanks and set up home on a small-offshore island in a large fjord of Prince of Wales Island. Being 25 miles by-water from Ketchikan is a challenge, however, the benefits outweigh the difficulties. Part of the year is spent in La Conner WA where Slajer is a board member of the Shelter Bay, a homeowner’s association (HOA), and currently serving as Treasurer. Judi continues to use her local government skills and training to further the HOA’s efficiency and effectiveness for the people it serves.
Slajer is very appreciative of all the wonderful professionals, men and women, she’s worked with over the years, and she has also formed strong bonds with many. She is also deeply aware it takes everyone working toward common goals to find solutions to the problems we face on a-daily basis.
Slajer, was born in Michigan, raised in Leavenworth, WA and Moorpark, CA, and moved to Alaska with her first husband in 1962. Slajer and her current husband, Tom, have five children between them, one in Fairbanks, one in Anchorage and D.C., two in Washington, and one in Wisconsin. They have eight grandchildren, all attending or completed college (except the 14-year-old), and nine great grand-children in Fairbanks.
- “Obituary for Judith ‘Judi’ Slajer.” Anchorage Daily News; obituaries.adn.com/adportal/listingView.html?id=4459