The Bainbridge Island City Council gave an at-times emotional sendoff to Kol Medina at its last meeting.
Medina, who had been on the council longer than any other member, is leaving to take a job in Walla Walla.
A highlight of the event was Mayor Lynn Schneider’s often humorous slide show shown to the tune of “Funky Cold Medina.”
Councilmember Rashaam Nassar got choked up when it was her time to talk.“I’m heartbroken that you’re leaving,” she said.
Nassar said she admires Medina because of his willingness to listen and promote civic engagement. He also was a leader on the council for an inclusive government.
“You’re the council member I want to be,” Nassar said, adding Medina inspired her at a meeting when she was running for office and was an underdog for the post.
Deputy mayor Joe Deets said, “I still call you mayor,” because that was Medina’s role when Deets joined the council. Deets said Medina’s calm demeanor and institutional knowledge will be “sorely missed. You’ve raised the bar for us.”
Council member Kirsten Hytopoulos said she was saddened that because of COVID-19 restrictions they had to have the meeting online so Medina could not get a proper goodbye.
“Everything with COVID is less than,” she said. “It’s terrible you won’t get what you deserve” as a sendoff celebration.
She also addressed the elephant in the room; that he’s leaving with two ethics complaints filed against him, alleging conflict of interest.
“I hate that you’re leaving with this ugly cloud over you,” she said.
Medina responded saying the claim is meritless, and instead focused on the positive comments from the council, staff and public.
“It’s pretty hard for me to leave,” he said. “I appreciate what everyone said.”
He had praise for the city government he has worked with over the years.“Everyone tries to do the best job for the city,” he said, but “the universe is taking me in another direction.”