Bryan out as public works director

"Nine-year city public works director Bill Bryan will leave his post by the end of the year, effectively fired by the mayor and city administrator.Bryan agreed to step down after a Nov. 15 meeting with Mayor Dwight Sutton and Administrator Lynn Nordby. The move was never announced publicly, but was confirmed in inquiries by the Review Monday, based on information from several sources.In an interview Monday, Nordby stopped short of using the word “fired,” opting for a more “diplomatic” tack.“We asked him to step down, and he agreed,” Nordby said. “We felt it was time for a change in direction and leadership in the department.”Nordby cited “lack of coordination and some leadership issues around specific tasks” in the public works department.He said the move had been under consideration for months, and that no single incident precipitated the decision. Also, there was no question of wrongdoing, Nordby said.“Some of his service was fine,” Nordby said. “Some wasn’t.”Bryan was out of the office Monday, and did not return phone calls Tuesday for comment.Bainbridge Island City Council Chair Norm Wooldridge said Tuesday that the move had the support of the council.“There were some things that just didn’t get done,” Wooldridge said. “In some cases, (Bryan) didn’t accomplish all the things he’d committed to that we felt were important, and some that were fairly routine.”Both Wooldridge and Nordby did credit Bryan with effective long-range planning, and for establishing capital plans for local roads, utilities and other infrastructure for the all-island city after annexation in 1990.He was also responsible for bringing in a number of high-dollar grants from state and federal sources that helped fund the reconstruction of Ferncliff Avenue and last summer’s Lower Madison/Brien/Bjune project.“He really knew how to work that angle,” Wooldridge said.Bryan was hired in the spring of 1991. There is no time frame for hiring a permanent replacement, Nordby said, although the position likely will be filled on an interim basis. City engineer Jeff Jensen and operations director Lance Newkirk are just below Bryan in the public works hierarchy.Under a recently adopted city policy, Bryan will receive as severance one week’s pay for each year of service with the city – about $13,000 – plus pay equivalent to any unused vacation time. The severance was agreed to by the city council in an executive session last week, sources said.A formal announcement of the move is expected at the next council meeting."

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