Council hones chief process -- News Roundup

City Council members will interview Matt Haney, nominee for chief of Bainbridge Police, as early as this coming week, council chair Christine Rolfes announced Wednesday.

The interview will come as part of the confirmation process agreed upon by the council following a closed-door session two weeks ago.

Haney, who has served as interim chief for the past year, was nominated for the permanent position by Mayor Darlene Kordonowy. He was said to be the leading candidate among four finalists interviewed by a blue-ribbon panel last month.

The council declined to the confirm the appointment immediately, citing unspecified questions and concerns.

Wednesday, Rolfes identified five areas on which the nominee will be interviewed.

Issues included Haney’s “command experience and track record,” relative to the standards associated with ascension to a police chief post; experience and judgment in allocating department resources; decision-making in challenging situations; creating a disciplined and professional environment in the department; and leadership abilities.

“They’re not integrity questions, they’re not character questions, they’re not psychological issues,” Rolfes said.

The council also wants more information from the panel that interviewed Haney and the other finalists.

Councilwoman Debbie Vancil contrasted the police chief hiring process – in which she said the council was not included by the mayor – to the ongoing hiring processes for several other top administration posts.

“What you’re seeing is that the council is not well-informed and not prepared to confirm,” Vancil said. “That has nothing to do with the nominee the mayor has put forward.”

Still, Rolfes said the process needs to be wrapped up “quickly and decisively,” and could be completed within several weeks.

During Wednesday’s discussion, Kordonowy reported that four finalists for the vacant city administrator post will be on the island late next week. Interviews and an informal get-together with council members and the public are planned; names of the finalists have not yet been released.

– Douglas Crist

Lost Valley purchase OK’d

The City Council on Wednesday approved purchase of properties and easements totaling eight acres in the so-called “Lost Valley” at the Head of the Bay.

Purchase price of $280,000 came from the city’s $8 million open space program. It was the 11th purchase under the three-year-old program.

The property is contiguous with 30 acres already owned by the city, purchased during the Dwight Sutton administration for preservation of the watershed and city well field.

A rude trail runs more than two miles in a figure-eight, and offers possible links to several adjoining neighborhoods.

Cooper Creek, a year-round stream that flows through the valley floor, is said to be among the finest on the island and has great potential for salmon.

“I’ve always wondered, the whole time I’ve been here, how come it didn’t get developed,” said Dave Shorett, open space commissioner. “It’s just good fortune, I guess.”

Councilwoman Debbie Vancil praised the purchase, saying the property’s name took on new meaning after a recent hiking tour in which her party lost its bearings.

“It’s definitely a wilderness experience, and you don’t have to leave Bainbridge to have it,” she said.

– Douglas Crist

Driver runs down bicyclist

A 49-year-old Winslow man was seriously injured while bicycling Friday afternoon, when he was struck from behind by a vehicle.

The accident was reported at 2:03 p.m. on the highway, south of Day Road. Police say the rider, whose name was being withheld pending notification of relatives, was riding northbound when a motorist veered onto the shoulder and struck him.

The man suffered serious injuries to his lower legs, police said, and was airlifted to Harborview.

Preliminary investigation showed that the driver, a 23-year-old Bangor woman, was answering a call on her cell-phone, Bainbridge Police Traffic Officer Rob Corn said.

– Douglas Crist

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