Bainbridge Island’s new city manager gets $10k raise after first six months

Bainbridge Island City Manager Morgan Smith has received a glowing evaluation after her first six months on the job as Bainbridge’s city manager.

And a raise of $10,000 to go along with it.

Smith took over the top position in city hall following the departure of Doug Schulze, the city’s former manager, for a position last year in Banning, California.

At the council meeting this week, the council reviewed Smith’s performance as city manager.

Smith has been the topic of multiple closed-door executive sessions in recent months, where council members have talked about her performance in the high-profile job.

A March 27 memo on her six-month performance evaluation, authored by the city council, was recently released by the city. In it, the council gave Smith high praise for her performance.

“There is consensus that Morgan’s performance has met expectations; several members noted that Morgan’s performance has exceeded their expectations,” the council said in the memo. “Specific examples include police chief transition, snow response efforts, police/court facility purchase, careful organization of city business, and transparent and responsive communication.”

The memo noted that the council met in an executive session March 26, which included a discussion between Smith and council members, and the performance evaluation also included interviews with the mayor, deputy mayor and city staff.

The performance review memo also contained seven glowing but anonymous comments from the members of the council.

Those comments included:

“When misunderstandings or problems have arisen, I have found Morgan to be a thoughtful and forthright problem solver.”

“I’ve been extremely impressed with Morgan’s interactions with the council during council meetings, providing a cool head and forthrightness.”

The memo also noted that city staff who were interviewed during Smith’s job performance review “were unaiversally pleased” with her performance in the post.

“Most acknowledged that she is quite task-oriented and demanding in her expectations for meeting work-plan timelines and other goals, a trait that they generally see as positive and conducive to good city management,” the memo said.

Smith took over as city manager on Oct. 3 after eight years as deputy city manager on Bainbridge.

She started work as deputy city manager in October 2010. Previously, Smith had been the executive director for the Bainbridge Island Arts & Humanities Council, and before that, she served as the chief of strategic planning and director of fiscal policy for the city of Atlanta.

The council voted 5-2 last October to approve a two-year manager’s contract with Smith, with Councilwoman Rasham Nassar and Councilman Ron Peltier voting against the agreement.

The contract runs through Dec. 31, 2020.

The base salary for the employment contract was set at $174,000, but included a provision that Smith’s salary would rise to $184,000 in six months “upon a determination by the city council that the employee has successfully performed the functions of the city manager position.”

At this week’s council meeting, elected officials continued their high praise of the city’s new manager.

“We on council unanimously — and I would say enthusiastically – agree that Morgan is doing a great job for the city,” said Councilwoman Leslie Schneider.

Councilman Matthew Tirman agreed.

“I really appreciate all of your efforts over the past six months,” he said. “You’ve had a series of interesting challenges as our new city manager with the departure of our police chief, with the storms in February.”

“I think a lot was thrown at you and the team and you guys have performed really well. Thank you for that. You’ve been a great addition,” Tirman said.

“We’re really fortunate to have Morgan Smith here as our city manager,” added Councilman Joe Deets. “She’s just done an outstanding job for us and for the city staff and for the community.”

Deets said he was thrilled the council made the decision to keep her on staff.

Smith thanked the council for its comments and their productive interactions with city staff.

“It has been an interesting six months, but that’s part of what I love about the job,” Smith said.

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