Patton to step down as city attorney

Just as Bainbridge Island filled one high-ranking position, another will be emptied by the end of the year.

City Attorney Will Patton has announced he will step down at year’s end.

Bainbridge Island City Manager Doug Schulze made the announcement at the Monday, Nov. 19 meeting of the city council. It was Schulze’s third meeting since joining the city as the top executive at city hall.

“Will has given me his notice of resignation,” Schulze said.

“As of the end of the year, he will be retired,” he added.

City officials provided scant details Monday on Patton’s reasons for stepping down now, and also did not say when his resignation letter was submitted.

Schulze said he was given the green light from the city council to begin a search for a new city attorney.

Schulze said that he did not yet know the specifics of the city’s search for a new attorney, but that it will take time to find a good match.

“We will want to do a pretty extensive search to get the right person,” he said.

Patton joined the city in late October 2011, replacing Jack Johnson.

Before his time as interim city attorney, he worked for the law firm of Foster Pepper and before that, he spent 17 years as director of the utilities section for the Seattle City Attorney’s Office. He spent an additional nine years with the city attorney office’s litigation and utilities sections, eventually becoming its director.

His work for the city came under question in early 2012, however, as members newly elected to the council questioned whether he could be impartial in his work given that he had been hired by Brenda Bauer, the city manager who was eventually fired by the new council majority.

Some council members also sought outside legal advice rather than turning to Patton for counsel, which sparked a controversy earlier this year when the rest of the council refused to pay for the unauthorized legal bills that had piled up.

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