City Manager Search
City Council directs contract negotiations to begin with City Manager finalist
The City Council on Jan. 26 directed its consultant, Ron Holifield of Strategic Government Resources (SGR), to move forward with contract negotiations with City Manager finalist Blair King.
“I am absolutely convinced that [King] is a superb fit for our community and our City organization, that he has the experience to address the issues that we’re facing right now, and that he will help us realize our vision for the future of the island,” Deputy Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos said during the Jan. 26 Council discussion.
King has served as City Manager of Coronado, California since 2010, and has 36 years of local government experience, which includes 25 years as a City Manager at cities throughout California. King holds a Master of Public Administration and bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno. Read his resume and the "first year game plan" he was tasked with preparing as part of the selection process.
The next steps include contract negotiations facilitated by SGR. The public was invited to a virtual event, held on Feb. 10, during which King answered questions submitted by community members. The event recording can be viewed here.
Overview of Search Process
In July 2020, the City Council began the process of hiring a new City Manager. The City engaged Strategic Government Resources, Inc. (SGR) to conduct a national recruitment for candidates. SGR is a search firm that specializes in public sector management, and SGR has supported several key previous recruitments for the City of Bainbridge Island (most notably the recent selection of our new Police Chief and the previous City Manager search in 2012.)
The City Council worked with SGR to develop a position profile to describe the ideal candidate and qualifications, and to convey the key community values and long-range goals of Bainbridge Island. This profile is used to publicize the opening to potential candidates regionally and nationally. In August, the City Council sought public input to inform the development of the position profile, asking for suggestions relating to desirable qualities for applicants, or ideas about what candidates should know about Bainbridge Island. Read the public comments here, and the City Council comments on the draft position profile here. The City Council approved the final position profile at their Sept. 15 meeting.
Candidate qualifications were reviewed in the fall by SGR and the City Council. The process typically involves evaluation of semi-finalists followed by a more intensive review of a smaller number of finalists. Finalists often participate in a range of assessments, including public presentations and interview panels with community members, City Council members, City leadership staff, and other stakeholders. The final selection is made by the City Council, who will then negotiate an employment agreement to conclude the hiring process.
The City Council narrowed its search for a new City Manager to from a pool of 66 applications to three finalists who participated in a series of virtual interviews with city staff, community partners and advisory group representatives during the week of Dec. 14. Subsequently, one finalist withdrew from the process. The Council continues to consider their choice among the two candidates below, with the plan to make a final selection in January. Deputy City Manager Ellen Schroer is serving as Interim City Manager during the transition.
The City hosted an online open house in early January to give the community an opportunity to hear from the finalists.
About the Council-Manager Form of Government
As a noncharter code city, Bainbridge Island originally operated under a mayor-council form of government. The form of government was changed following a May 19, 2009 vote in which a majority of islanders expressed a preference for the council-manager form of government. This form of government is regulated under the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 35A.13.
Per the Municipal Research Services Center (MRSC):
"The council-manager form consists of an elected city council, which is responsible for policymaking, and a professional city manager, appointed by the council, who is responsible for administration. The city manager provides policy advice, directs the daily operations of city government, handles personnel functions (including the power to appoint and remove employees) and is responsible for preparing the city budget."
For additional information about the council-manager form of government, visit the MRSC website.