Next Steps

by Gloria Sayler

The City Council’s agenda this week was filled with updates – on the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project, the City Manager search with SGR, and the Ethics Board operating rules.

The “feel good” items were up first – the poetry reading in honor of National Poetry Month, and the Kitsap Forest and Bay Project ( County Council member Rob Gelder gave a brief description including a PowerPoint presentation to enlist a letter of support from the Council. The Project is raising funds to buy the land from Pope Resources, the timber company, as both parties recognize the value of this land for recreation, wildlife habitat, and cultural sustenance. After a few questions, the Council unanimously approved endorsing the Project.

The City Manager Search Update was next, and we met the other half of Strategic Government Resources (SGR), Tom Muehlenbeck.  Tom was equally impressive as his counterpart, Ron Holifield – and in somewhat different way. He was very gracious, and incredibly graceful as he persistently conveyed his flexibility in meeting the Council’s wishes regarding the process of the City Manager search. During this visit, Tom met with City Council members individually and with City staff to gather their ideas about a successful City Manager candidate, and what the key issues are for the City.

The SGR team will be back on Bainbridge from May 6-9 to meet with the community and further with the Council in order to refine the profile (the qualities we seek) of the City Manager.  The time will be divided between Public forums and Interest Group (organizations) interviews.  Suggestions were made about how to include people who may not easily use the usual channels for communication. Watch the papers or the Council website for times and dates.

Having watched both Tom Muehlenbeck and Ron Holifield in action, I feel confident in their ability to guide this process and get the information they need.  This is the next big step for the City, so it’s reassuring to know that we have such experienced managers to lead us through our search for a City Manager who can respond to, and balance, all the demands of our Island and its residents. Perhaps even enjoy the challenge!

Your opportunity to hear the Council members’ views on the process and make your voices heard will be at the Ward Meetings, tomorrow, May 1 at 7. For locations, see the City Calendar at:



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