Kol Medina made a shocking announcement at Tuesday night’s Bainbridge Island City Council meeting that he is resigning to take a job as president of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation in Walla Walla.
Since moving to Bainbridge in 2001, Medina has worked as executive director of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter for nine years and served on the boards of many nonprofits, including the Health, Housing and Human Services Council, One Call for All, Association of Bainbridge Communities and Community Energy Solutions.
Currently, along with being on the City Council he is president and Chief Executive Officer of the Kitsap Community Foundation, a role similar to his new job.
“I’m really sorry to be leaving you all,” he said. “It’s really a bittersweet moment for me. I’ve been going through a lot of emotions and conflicting thoughts about this for months now.”
He said he learned in June that their CEO is retiring, “and since then have been on a journey to see if that would be a good fit for me.”
“People might say, ‘Kol, why in the world would you do that?’ Everything’s going great here at Kitsap Community Foundation. I get to be on this council, which is a real privilege. Things are going really well, I love this place. I wasn’t looking to leave.”
Medina said the fact that he grew up in Walla Walla was a factor.
”The best part of my childhood was in Walla Walla. I’ve always had a hankering to get back there ,and I didn’t think I ever really would. I guess I’m going to take this one selfish action for me and my family. I’m going to miss you guys.”
While many fellow councilmembers we’re ultimately happy for Medina and his family, some were disappointed to see him leave the council, after just being re-elected to another four-year term in 2019.
“It’s an incredible loss, and I think we should all be talking pretty quickly about the process because it’s a really important thing,” Councilmember Kirsten Hytopoulos said of replacing Medina. “Filling your shoes is going to be hard.”
“Change is good, and it sounds like this is a good move for you,” Deputy Mayor Joe Deets said. “Your gain is our loss.”
Medina will continue serving on the council through Nov. 10 before starting his new job Dec. 1.