Opinion

We’re asking for a lot from our next public works chief | IN OUR OPINION

There’s plenty of boxes to be checked off in the search for Bainbridge Island’s next public works director.

The new hire should bring plenty of professional experience, and the technical expertise and training that’s required for an engineer. The director will need to be a quick study, and one who can turn around a department that’s viewed by many as slow, bureaucratic and quick to seek the assistance of consultants.

Residents who came out for this week’s focus group meeting on the search added a few of their own boxes.

The new director, some said, should be a creative soul, one not intimidated by a questioning council, and one willing to give up part of their territory if outsourcing services proves to be an economical choice for the city.

Residents also brought up a word that’s been repeatedly raised during the city’s recent searches for a city manager and police chief: trust.

Islanders want a public works director that can be “trusted,” some said this week.

Truth be told, trust is not something any job applicant can pull from their toolbox of skills or attributes.

Instead, it’s something that comes with time, through the building of a give-and-take relationship.

It’s also something that requires a bit of give on the part of Bainbridge Islanders. Residents who are anxious to have a public works director they can trust will also have to bring something to the relationship; acceptance, an open mind, patience and the ability to shed the baggage of past directors and deeds (or misdeeds) of the department.

 

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