New Bainbridge police chief to get $157k salary under proposed contract

Joseph “Joe” Clark Jr. (Photo courtesy of the city of Bainbridge Island)

Joseph “Joe” Clark Jr. (Photo courtesy of the city of Bainbridge Island)

Bainbridge Island’s new police chief will be paid an annual salary of $157,165, according to a proposed employment agreement that will go before the city council Tuesday.

The city announced last week that Joseph “Joe” Clark Jr. was picked to lead the Bainbridge department.

City Manager Morgan Smith, who has hiring authority for the position, chose Clark from a field of three finalists that included Carl Nielsen, police chief for Centralia, and David “Dave” Westrick, the police chief of Hollister, California.

Clark has been in law enforcement for 34 years, and his most current position has been as deputy chief of police for the Norfolk Police Department. He has worked for the Norfolk Police Department since 1986, and became deputy chief of the department in Norfolk, Virginia in 2017.

The new chief will take over the department from Acting Police Chief Scott Weiss, who was installed after interim chief Jeff Horn resigned last November.

The city’s police chief who last served in a permanent role was Matthew Hamner, who resigned in January 2019 to take a job as chief in Banning, California.

Hamner had a brand-new contract with base salary of $170,000 when he resigned from his Bainbridge job.

That contract, approved by the council in late May 2018, came on the heels of a freshly inked employment agreement that had been approved the week before that set Hamner’s base salary at $158,000.

The council’s quick do-over on Hamner’s contract followed after city officials learned he was being considered for the police chief job for the University of Colorado Police Department in Boulder, Colorado, and the Bainbridge council was eager to keep Hamner, one of the city’s most popular chiefs in decades, in his Bainbridge post.

The Bainbridge council will consider a contract for Clark on an agenda that’s been shortened due to concerns over group meetings as the coronavirus virus continues to spread in Washington state.

City officials have announced the Tuesday council meeting will start an hour earlier than usual, and public attendance will be limited to a few individuals, if any. (The city will only allow 10 people into council chambers for the main portion of the council meeting, and the number includes the seven-member council and city staff.)

Unlike previous employment contracts for the city’s police chief, the proposed agreement does not include a term limit.

The contract will run for an indefinite term, and can be terminated at any time by the city or Clark, with or without cause. If Clark chooses to retire or resign, he must give 30 days notice.

Clark’s contract also includes up to $15,000 for moving and/or temporary housing expenses.

On his starting date, Clark will also get 80 hours of vacation and 80 hours of sick leave.

Also in the agreement: a severance package of six months of base salary if the city terminates the contract without cause during Clark’s first six months on the job.

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