Letters to the Editor

Approval is mandate for change in our city | Letters | May 22

The adoption of a council-manager form of government this week signals a new era for the City of Bainbridge Island.

While most of the same players will continue to serve our community through the end of the year, the responsibilities and relationships between those individuals have dramatically changed.

With a new form of government and an optimistic mandate from the community, a unique opportunity for fundamental and positive change now lies before our City Council.

The city manager will report and answer directly to the council.

The council is now in a position to make city policies, establish performance criteria, and do so in an open and transparent decision-making process that reflects the people’s priorities.

The campaign has been a positive and productive experience.

Whether in person, on the blogs or in the newspapers, citizens on both sides of the issue maintained a civil and community-spirited tone.

And yet the debate has been lively and thoughtful.

From living room conversations to neighborhood meetings to community events, citizens actively sought information and weighed their options.

We are optimistic that this strong demonstration of civic responsibility will mark the beginning of many positive changes in our city government.

Those of us campaigning to promote the switch to council-manager worked hard to ensure that the campaign was about the best government structure, not about the personalities of those serving in our current city government.

Still, the campaign was necessarily about the need for change.

However Bainbridge Island residents voted and whatever the specific reasons for their votes, it became clear to the committee during the campaign that a very strong majority of voters have grave concerns regarding how city business is being done.

Tuesday’s vote was as much a vote for a change in direction as it was about a new form of government.

Now is the time for the council to show the citizens that it has heard this mandate for change. To do that, the council needs to move away from the status quo, and embark on a collaborative, open, and healing process.

Linda Owens

Campaign manager

VOTE Council-Manager ’09 Campaign Committee

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