Bainbridge official to resign with severance package

A key official in the city of Bainbridge Island’s Public Works Department who has been on paid administrative leave since Dec. 9 has signed a separation agreement to leave his post early next month.

Bainbridge City Manager Morgan Smith has signed a separation agreement with City Engineering Manager Kenneth “Chris” Hammer to end his employment with the city at the start of 2020.

Hammer’s last day is set for Jan. 3.

The agreement, obtained by the Review this week through a public records request, says Hammer “has decided to voluntarily separate from employment.”

The reasons for Hammer’s unexpected resignation have not been shared publicly by city officials. Smith has not responded to requests for comment from the Review.

The agreement signed by the city guarantees that Hammer will be paid during his administrative leave and again after he leaves his job.

Bainbridge will also give Hammer a check for $32,367.54 — three months of his base salary — after he leaves as part of the severance package.

The contract notes that the city will not appeal any unemployment benefits that Hammer may receive after his departure, as well.

The separation contract has been in the works for weeks.

Terms of the agreement note that Hammer had a 21-day “review period” to consider the separation agreement, and was also given seven days to back out of the contract after he signed it earlier this month.

The three-page separation agreement was signed by Hammer Dec. 5, and by Smith Dec. 6.

The severance benefits includes giving Hammer paid leave during his administrative leave, a period that stretches from Dec. 9 through Jan. 3.

The agreement also notes that the severance package and other terms of the contract were “not something employee is otherwise entitled to receive under any pre-existing agreement between employer and employee.”

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