New city manager lays out plan for his first year

Before he was officially hired by the city council, new City Manager Douglas Schulze gave Bainbridge Island officials a detailed idea of what his first year on the job would look like.

As part of his application for the city manager position, Schulze prepared a project that outlines his first year as city manager of the city of Bainbridge Island.

“The first 30 days in a new job are critical to the long term success of a public manager,” Schulze said in his first-year plan. “If done wrong, it can result in a long uphill battle.”

Councilwoman Kirsten Hytopoulos noted his first-year plan as one of the reasons she was so impressed with him on Wednesday, Sept. 19 when the council selected Schulze as their choice for the position.

“I really liked it,” she said. “It was very thorough.”

The condensed version of his report has Schulze meeting with business leaders legislators, employee associates and “anyone whose opinions will affect my rose as city manager,” during the first 30 days. He will be gathering information to understand departments and existing systems over the first one to three months.

He also expects to complete a thorough financial analysis of the organization over the first one to two months.

Hiring a new police chief will be a major focus of his first six months on the job. The last half of his first year will center on working with the council to move forward to accomplish its strategic goals.

Schulze also said that he will implement a High Performance Organization Model as an ongoing effort at the city and will require an investment in training and development. He expects the results of the model to become apparent within two or three months.

“I will begin focusing on creating a culture change within the organization after several months of listening, observing and learning,” Schulze said.

In his first-year plan, Schulze says he would come to the city up to two visits to meet with staff so they understand his management expectations before his first day of employment on Monday, Nov. 5.

Schulze said he will spend the first days of his new job getting acquainted with the city’s budget.

Department heads will be asked to produce an “issue paper” that details any planning or operational problems that their departments face.

“This gives department heads an opportunity to tell me, early in the game, how he or she feels about certain pressing matters,” Schulze wrote.

Schulze wrote that he would most likely leave Interim City Manager Morgan Smith in charge of operational issues during the first two weeks to give him time to attend staff briefings and meet with community leaders.

He also didn’t neglect his partners in running the city, the council members, who he wants to also meet with individually.

By the fourth month on the job, Schulze said he will start on a detailed work plan that is part of a six-month observations report for the city council. The work plan will address focus areas around the city and will include a public safety management study and action plan, as well as a transportation plan and related funding.

The public safety plan will address issues with the city’s police department. He cited the ICMA Center for Public Safety Management as an excellent resource to assist with workload and staffing analysis of the department.

“In communities like Bainbridge Island, Normandy Park and Medina residents expect a unique level of professionalism and service from law enforcement,” Schulze said. “It will be a priority for me to work closely with police department leadership and police guild leadership to create a police department that is highly respected by the community for providing professional, responsive and effective law enforcement services.

Schulze also acknowledges the city’s past efforts toward road maintenance and states he will continue to address island roads.

“It is clear that the council and community expect to see results in the near future,” Schulze said in regard to road maintenance.

“If a bond measure is going to be placed in the ballot in 2014, a public information plan should be implemented approximately nine months prior to the election date,” he added.

Schulze said the Eagle Harbor Project and the Rockaway Beach Project will require his expressed attention.

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