Three candidates for city manager to meet island public Tuesday
By RICHARD D. OXLEY
Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer
September 17, 2012 · 1:20 PM
The three candidates that have emerged from a field of more than 40 will be presented to the public this Tuesday.
But Councilwoman Anne Blair said it's not just the candidates who should put their best face forward.
"As much as the candidates are selling themselves to us, the island is selling itself to them," Blair said.
"We want them to like us and to be here. So we are also putting our best foot forward so they see the value in the job," she said.
The city is hosting a community reception for the trio of candidates who are vying to be the next city manager of Bainbridge Island. The event is 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 at city hall.
The candidates are spending two days on the island; one day to interview with the council and another for the meet-and-greet at city hall. Their first day here is for the community reception, and the candidates will then spend the next evening, Wednesday, Sept. 19, interviewing with the council. The council will conduct the interviews starting at 4:30 p.m. behind closed doors in an executive session.
After the interviews are conducted, the council will discuss their thoughts on each candidate.
There is a possibility that the council will hold a public meeting immediately after the Wednesday executive session if the council needs to take action on any proposed changes to the terms of employment for the new city manager.
"We are anticipating that there may be some direction to be taken on salary changes or specifics like that," Blair said.
If and when a candidate is chosen, Strategic Government Resources, the Texas-based firm charged with the city manager search, will be dispatched to negotiate the contract.
And if everything runs smoothly, the council will vote on approving a contract with a new city manager on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
Two candidates haven't had very far to travel for their interviews. Mark Hoppen and Doug Schulze currently work and live in the Puget Sound area.
Bonnie Therrien, the third candidate, has traveled from Connecticut.
Schulze was the first of the three finalists to apply for the post; he submitted his letter of interest on June 26.
Schulze, who has been the city manager of the city of Normandy Park since 2006, has 24 years of experience in local government management.
Before taking over as the city manager in Normandy Park, he was the city manager of Medina for 10 yeas, from 1996 to 2006. Prior to his time in Medina, he was the city administrator for the city of Sandstone, Minn. from 1992 to 1996. He was also assistant city administrator in Savage, Minn. from 1988 to 1992.
He has a master's degree in urban and regional studies from Minnesota State University, and a bachelor's degree in public administration from Minnesota State University.
In his application letter, Schulze said he had been watching Bainbridge Island city council meetings online in recent months, and touted his ability to create relationships that were "based on mutual trust and respect."
He also said his work in Medina and Normandy Park would make him well-suited to take over as city manager at Bainbridge Island City Hall, and he touched on two issues important on Bainbridge Island: open government and police services.
Schulze recalled the high expectations of Medina citizens in open and transparent government, and noted that the council had asked him to "create a professional and respected police department."
"I worked very closely with the police chief and officers to improve the reputation of the department and within five years the police department became a state accredited agency," Schulze said in his application letter.
Hoppen most recently served as interim deputy director and chief operating officer of the Snohomish Health District, and wrapped up a five-month stint at the public health agency in Snohomish County in July.
He applied for the Bainbridge job on July 10.
Hoppen has the longest gap in serving as the top employee at a municipal government of any of the three finalists; he last worked as a city administrator in 2006, in Gig Harbor.
Hoppen was Gig Harbor's city administrator for nearly 15 years, and his application letter was largely focused on his time there and his work as a department head in Puyallup, where he was public works director and manager of development services from 2006 through 2009.
During his time in Gig Harbor — where he took over as city administrator after being elected to the city council and served for two years — Hoppen noted the city increased its parks space by tenfold and also built a new 36,000-square-foot civic center for city employees. He outlined advances in infrastructure projects throughout the city, and recalled how Gig Harbor was selected as the best city for coastal living in the United States, the year following his departure.
In Puyallup, he recalled how his departments had undergone a reorganization and had successfully handled permitting for a $400 million hospital and business campus redevelopment project.
Before his interim post at the Snohomish Health District, Hoppen was a consultant for Hoppen Associates from 2009 to 2012.
He has a doctorate's degree in education from Seattle University, a master's degree in public administration from the University of Washington, and a bachelor's in English literature from the UW.
Therrien was the last of the three finalists to throw her hat into the ring for the Bainbridge city manager's post. She applied for the position on July 13.
Currently the interim town manager in North Branford, Conn., Therrien was manager for the town of Hebron, Conn. from April 2010 through December 2011. In her application materials, she recalled how she started meeting with neighboring towns to regionalize municipal services and helped develop an economic development tour for potential developers, bankers and real estate agents.
Before Hebron, she was the interim director of administrative services for Simsbury, Conn. for nine months, and prior to that temporary post, was town manager for Wethersfield, Conn. from 2003 through 2009, a city with a population of 26,000.
In Wethersfield, Therrien said she helped successfully negotiate multiple union contracts, oversaw numbers capital projects and helped direct the creation of a long-range strategic plan.
Therrien has also been a town manager in Berlin, Conn. (1996 to 2003); assistant city manager in Jacksonville, N.C. (1994 to 1996); deputy city manager in Hartford, Conn. (1991 to 1992); and acting town manager in Enfield, Conn. (1989 to 1990).
She has a master's degree in public administration and a master's in criminal justice from American International College in Springfield, Mass. and a bachelor's degree in sociology from American International College.
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Staff Writer Richard D. Oxley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 842-6613.