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UPDATE | Bainbridge Island city attorney cites political turmoil in resignation letter
Bainbridge Island's City Attorney Will Patton told the incoming city manager last month he would likely be exiting his position when the new manager came on board, according to Patton's letter of resignation.
The departure letter was submitted to City Manager Doug Schulze on Nov. 5; Schulze's first day on the job.
Patton congratulated the new manager before stating his purpose for leaving — partially for the benefit of the city, but also for his own personal and family reasons.
"The city is now poised to successfully move on from the turmoil of this last year," Patton said in his letter. "As I said in my short meeting with you last month, I believe you and the city will be best served in that effort by assembling your own executive team with at least some new people, including a new city attorney."
Patton also recalled that he agreed to take the position on Bainbridge when former vity manager Brenda Bauer asked him to take it on, but only on the condition that he would be "interim."
"That request reflected my direct knowledge of the volatile history of Bainbridge Island politics and litigation," Patton wrote.
"My concern was not to further damage the city's reputation if either the city soon decided to replace the city manager and me, or if I ended up deciding the city environment could not be professionally rewarding," the attorney explained.
Under the "interim city attorney" title, Patton felt any sudden change in the position would not be seen as negative for the city.
Patton's instincts proved correct from his perspective. The year following his entrance into city hall held considerable changes.
"This last year has been more tumultuous than even I imagines," Patton wrote. "But through that tumult, the city has persevered, and I have been able to work on engaging legal issues."
Patton said in his letter that his position was previously up in the air after Bauer was fired by the city council, but he stayed on under certain conditions.
"In March, I promised Morgan that I would continue as the interim city attorney so long as she agreed to serve as the acting and then interim city manager," he wrote. "Now, however, you have arrived as the 'real' city manager, and the time for which the 'interim' city attorney designation remains plausible is nearing its end."
Patton also noted the talented staff at city hall and how it was his pleasure to work with them.
He said that he will resign at the end of the year and will assist the new city manager to find a replacement, and make the transition as successful as possible.