Rug under new admin may get a tug
June 9, 2008 · Updated 9:08 PM
Were glad that someone has mentioned to the four finalists for Bainbridges new city administrator that in less than two years, they may be looking for a new job.
As noted in a recent letters column, citizens led by the Bainbridge Resource Group are exploring a vote to change the islands form of government from Council-Mayor to Council-Manager. Assuming the group drums up enough petitions needed to put the measure on the fall ballot, such a change presumably would go into effect with the end of Darlene Kordonowys mayoral term.
The convergence of events new administrator about to be picked, even as islanders may phase out the position was raised by one of our readers this week, who commented: Any serious candidate is going to be leaving a current position of some merit. They are not going to make that choice without researching the community, and are soon going to find out about the dysfunction/petition. The City Admin you want to hire to work for a Mayor is different than the one you want to work for a CC. In any case, any decent candidate, it would seem to me would want to know just who they will be working for six months down the track.
Indeed, although were not sure ourselves of the different skill sets that come into play for each. A city manager would presumably need to be a stronger presence in City Hall, directly responsible for carrying out policy handed down by the council for fear of unemployment. An administrator, by contrast, might bring much the same skill set managing department heads, budget-building, personnel decisions, meeting with the public but the post seems more of an intermediary between the executive and legislative. As such, its insulated from the council and can function with a bit more autonomy, at the mayors behest.
Why council-manager? The theory is that it prevents the sort of internecine warfare between a council and mayor as the island has seen over much of the past decade. So which should the city be looking for in its next administrator?
Maybe its on the right track. Several of the four finalists have previous experience as city managers. John Fischbach ran cities in Colorado, Illinois and Washington. Steve Burkett, meanwhile, held city manager posts in Washington, Colorado, Florida and Oregon.
While their interest in the administrator post may seem outside their experience, maybe the positions arent that disparate after all. We recall that Bainbridges former interim administrator, Lee Walton, also bounced back and forth in manager and administrator positions over his career.
Interestingly perhaps predictably all four of the finalists said theyd be comfortable making the switch should island voters decide to trade in one government for another.
Should the change happen, we guess the incumbent can apply for the job.