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Dombroski named new city administrator

It took eight months, but the city finally has its man.

Mark Dombroski, an island resident and member of the city Planning Commission, will be Bainbridge Island’s next city administrator, after City Councilors on Wednesday unanimously approved his appointment.

Following a protracted hiring search and the associated uncertainty at City Hall, Dombroski said the city could use some settling.

“First and foremost is creating stability within the city,” he said. “I’m not coming in and doing any massive reorganization.”

That said, he does hope to make the budget more accessible to the general public; smarter growth and improved process also are priorities.

Dombroski, who since 2005 has served as Director of Finance for Seattle City Light, will be sworn in April 9. His first day on the job is April 16.

He was chosen from a field of 43 candidates from across the country. The search began in August, shortly after former City Administrator Mary Jo Briggs announced her resignation, due to continuing strife at City Hall.

The list was eventually winnowed to four candidates, all of whom mingled last month with city leaders, staff and the public at a reception in the Council Chambers.

Though some had more experience in city administration, Dombroski’s varied skill-set earned him the nod.

“I’ve got a strong business and leadership background,” he said. “A lot of things people talk about in city government – efficiency, effective process – I’ve acquired those skills through non-conventional methods.”

A self-described military brat, Dombroski claims Texas as his original home. He spent five years in the United States Marine Corps before beginning a long run as a consultant with PricewaterhousCoopers and KPMG International, through which he found his way to Seattle.

Dombroski eventually set off on his own, working as a consultant with cities on various utility projects, before landing at Seattle City Light.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and a masters in Public Administration from Seattle University.

He and his family moved to the island in 2005, and last year Dombroski joined the Bainbridge Island Planning Commission, which has helped familiarize him with local issues and politics.

The city administrator opening, he said, offered him the chance to merge his interest in the community with his career aspirations.

“I wasn’t actively looking for a job, but my long-term goal was always to get into general government, instead of just utility issues,” he said.

“We like to think we’re unique and different here on Bainbridge, and in many ways we are,” he continued.

“I thought it would be good to have someone who knew what’s been happening and could use that knowledge to help resolve some of those things.”

With a movement afoot in the community to change the form of government – some want to see the mayor position eliminated in favor of a city manager – Dombroski knows his job title and duties could change.

He said he’s comfortable with either possibility.

“From day one that was one of the first issues that was brought up,” he said. “I know things are up in the air, but whatever happens, I will be either the city administrator or city manager.”

First, though, the city must deal with more immediate needs, like its first biennial budget and a growing list of capital needs.

Dombroski will step down from the planning commission after its April 10 meeting; no one has been chosen to fill his seat, he said.

Dombroski has a wife and young son, with another child on the way.

And now, he has a new employer at City Hall.

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, who announced Dombroski’s appointment at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, said she was looking for a good communicator.

“I believe that Mark is the right choice for Bainbridge Island at this time,” Kordonowy said. “I believe he is best qualified to build on the expertise we have on council and within our staff, and bring us together to deliver on the multiple demands our city now faces.”

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