Council to discuss city manager search, police management and council member blogs tonight

The Bainbridge Island City Council will meet tonight to discuss the city's next steps to find a new city manager.

The meeting is expected to be shorter than others in recent weeks. The council will, however, address a few notable items.

Thirty minutes has been set to discuss the ongoing search for the city manager.

The council forwarded discussion after last week to review the offers from six search firms.

The council's ad hoc committee handling the search — Councilwoman Anne Blair, Councilman Steve Bonkowski and Councilman David Ward — favor two firms as finalists; Prothman and Strategic Government Resources.

"At the meeting I hope we can discuss who we want to come in and brief us on their approach," Bonkowski said.

"To me it is important to look at the lead recruiter in the eye and ask them questions about how they will conduct a national search," he said.

A seventh search firm offer had arrived just before the request for proposal deadline closed, but with the activity surrounding former city manager Brenda Bauer's departure, the ad hoc committee did not have a chance to evaluate it, Bonkowski said.

CPS HR Consulting from Sacramento, Calif. is the seventh and most recently added search firm.

The firm's proposal includes an executive search that will cost $17,000, with a range of $6,000 to $7,000 in expenses. The proposal covers a three-phase process, from creating a recruitment brochure to assisting with the development of an employment agreement.

CPS also offers a two-year guarantee. Should the city manager the company finds lasts less than two years in the job, CPS will return to assist with finding a replacement at no cost, aside from expenses.

Bonkowski said the end result of the search is what is most important.

"The most important thing we are going to do is get a city manager that we want to represent our city for the long term and we need to do whatever is necessary to do that," Bonkowski said.

The council will also revisit the possibility of council member websites or blogs.

Bonkowski had previously wanted to write a blog after his election, but found it difficult to get the go ahead once he landed on the council.

"We are now to the place where we can come up with a policy," Bonkowski said. "We have to develop a written policy in terms of the way the council operate."

Bonkowski noted that there is a concern that council members will comment on each other's blogs, which could lead to a violation of the state Open Public Meetings Act.

Bonkowski said that he would like to have the council member blogs hosted on the city's website rather than an outside site.

Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos will also revisit her interest in addressing the city's police department and community relations.

The council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. after an executive session at 6:30 p.m. The council will discuss "litigation or legal risks of a proposed action or current practice" behind closed doors during the executive session.


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