Bainbridge Island to host public forum on search for new public works director

The city of Bainbridge Island has scheduled a forum later this month to hear from the public as the city starts its search for a new public works director.

City officials said the city has hired Strategic Government Resources to lead the search. The Texas-based company led the effort to find Bainbridge's new city manager in 2012 and the city's new police chief earlier this year.

“As with the police chief search, I believe it is vital that SGR hear directly from island residents about the qualifications and characteristics desired in potential candidates,” said City Manager Doug Schulze. “The consultants will then use this input when developing the public works director position profile.”

Strategic Government Resources will facilitate the forum to allow citizens to share their thoughts and give feedback on what qualifications and attributes are desired in the next public works director.

The forum will be held in the council chamber at city hall from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, July 15.

Islanders who are unable to attend the forum can submit suggestions and feedback via email to Comments will will be forwarded to Strategic Government Resources for their review.

The city announced the resignation of Lance Newkirk, the city's last public works director, on April 24. Newkirk, a 15-year city employee, was public works director for the past four years.

Newkirk is currently on paid administrative leave through July 31; he will receive a severance package with two months' worth of salary after his final day with the city.

Schulze has said Newkirk's departure was part of a "negotiated resignation."

Though there has been some private criticism from some islanders about Newkirk's severance package, Schulze has said placing Newkirk on paid administrative leave for two months after his announced separation was "fair and appropriate" given that Newkirk will be available for consultation with city staff while he is on leave.

The city hired John Cunningham as the interim public works director in early June through an arrangement with the Prothman Company, an executive search firm based in Issaquah.

Cunningham is being paid $100 an hour, plus expenses for job-related travel and temporary housing.


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