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UPDATE | Bainbridge council members respond to Fehlman resignation
A complete surprise.
Members of the Bainbridge Island City Council said Tuesday they were unaware of the resignation of Police Chief Jon Fehlman until they were contacted by the Review Tuesday.
According to Interim City Manager Morgan Smith, Fehlman said he would resign effective Sept. 15. Smith said a separation agreement would be presented to the city council at its meeting Wednesday.
Word of Fehlman's departure came just before the city released a report by an outside investigator into allegations of malfeasance by the city's police union.
Councilwoman Anne Blair said that the council was up to date on the investigation, but did not know that Fehlman had stepped down.
"That's one of those decisions that individuals make about their own career, and he's served us well over the past few years," Blair said. "I wish him well."
Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos was also unaware of Fehlman's resignation early Tuesday, but wasn't surprised to hear it.
"I have felt that over the last few months that he has received a series of unfortunate and undeserved blows, so I don't blame him for resigning," Hytopoulos said.
"But I don't know what his decision is based on," she added.
Councilman Steve Bonkowski said that he was aware that Interim City Manager Morgan Smith had been in discussions with Fehlman, but beyond that, he knew nothing.
"I knew that the city manager was talking to Fehlman as to where the city was going, but that's all I knew about it," Bonkowski said.
"The responsibility for the chief is the city manager so we have to rely on her for her judgement," Bonkowski added.
Fehlman could not be reached for immediate comment Tuesday.