Search under way for new Bainbridge public works director

The search firm hired to find a new public works director for Bainbridge Island has started to collect applications for the post.

Strategic Government Resources, the Texas-based group of executive headhunters that helped find Bainbridge's newest city manager and its police chief, was hired by the city in June to conduct the search for a new public works director.

The city parted ways with Lance Newkirk, the city's former public works director, via a negotiated resignation in April.

John Cunningham, who previously worked for Sammamish and retired from the city for the second time in 2010, has been serving as interim public works director on Bainbridge since June.

The public works director position was posted last week, and followed an earlier community meeting where residents outlined the qualities and attributes they wanted in a new manager for the department.

The deadline for the first review of applications is Tuesday, Sept. 3.

The position is a key one at Bainbridge Island City Hall.

The next public works director will take over a department that includes three divisions — administration, engineering (including water resources), and operations and maintenance — with 36 full-time employees and a budget of more than $10 million.

According to the recruitment brochure prepared by Strategic Government Resources, the new director "will be a dependable and dedicated leader who understands high citizen expectations and can support and demonstrate superior customer service."

The recruitment brochure also said Bainbridge Island is looking for someone who can collaborate on common issues with local, state, regional and federal agencies, as well as "a technically savvy professional who can provide creative solutions to difficult problems."

"An excellent communicator with exceptional listening skills, the ideal candidate will have the ability to deliver clear and concise presentations and be able to explain projects and complex problems that a layperson can easily understand," the brochure also noted.

The top pick should also have eight years or more of progressively responsible experience in public works and municipal infrastructure projects, plus a bachelor’s degree in engineering. A master's degree is preferred.

A professional engineer license is required, as well, along with experience in road preservation, water and sewer service, stormwater management and non-motorized projects.

In the recruitment brochure, Strategic Government Resources also noted that Bainbridge has a new city manager "who is building a strong executive team and introducing a fresh vision for the organization."

"The selected public works director will be responsible for guiding the department as it moves in a new direction and creating a system for performance measurement," the brochure said, and added that an innovative leader was needed in the public works department to develop an organizational structure "that reflects the existing workforce and acknowledges limited fiscal resources."

Strategic Government Resources will help find applicants for the position, according to the company's contract with the city, and then help pare the applicant pool to 10 to 12 semifinalists.

Briefing books will be developed on the semifinalists, who will also be asked to complete a comprehensive written exercise that includes about 20 questions on five to six key areas of interest to Bainbridge Island.

Once finalists are picked, the search firm will also do a second media search on the candidates that will include a review of news articles, a search of social media websites, plus a background check by a private investigations company.

After interviews and the city chooses a finalist, reference checks will be conducted and negotiations on a job offer will commence.

The search process is expected to take up to 15 weeks if needed.

Strategic Government Resources is expected to be paid up to $22,000 for its help in recruiting the next public works director.

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