Daily Archives: May 28, 2009

UPDATED: Kordonowy confirms new role as 8th council member

Wednesday night’s City Council meeting was Darlene Kordonowy’s last as mayor of Bainbridge Island.

Next week, she’ll return to the dais as the council’s eighth member, Kordonowy announced at the meeting.

“It’s a very important time and transition for the city, and I know I can help make a difference,” she said.

A large majority of islanders voted on May 19 to eliminate the mayor’s office and turn over administrative duties to a city manager directed by the council. State law allows a mayor to become a temporary council member if a change-of-government happens during the mayor’s term.

Kordonowy had considered not taking on the new role, noting that many islanders voted for a council-manager government in an effort to remove her.

But her supporters urged her to reconsider, she said.

“I would have been giving up my voice and important representation for the community, and that didn’t feel right,” she said.

Kordonowy’s council term ends Jan. 1, the same day her mayoral term would have ended.

Her decision elicited mixed responses from the council.

“I’m very disappointed Darlene chose to sit on the council,” Councilman Bill Knobloch said. “I hope she will reconsider.”

The nearly 70 percent approval of the change-of-government measure is a clear message that islanders want big changes at City Hall, he said.

“They no longer accept what happened in the past and want change,” Knobloch said. “Does Darlene sitting on the council (match) that message? I think not.”

“I think the subtle implication is that there will be a continued attempt at business-as-usual, and that has a negative effect on the community.”

Council Chair Kjell Stoknes, who supported the change-of-government measure, said Kordonowy’s presence won’t have much impact.

“I see no problems,” he said. “She’s not in a position where she can control how the city operates.”

Kordonowy’s position on key issues usually matches that of the council majority. Future council voting may follow a five-to-three split rather than the typical four-to-three divide.

Stoknes said the council should focus less on Kordonowy and more on the work of transitioning to a new government.

“We’ve got to get over ourselves,” he said. “All of us have the best interests of the city in mind. Let’s try to be nice to each other while we do our business.”

The new form of government goes into effect when the election is certified on June 3. The council is expected to formally adopt the council-manager system on June 10 and appoint a ceremonial mayor from its ranks on June 17.
The council plans to appoint a ceremonial mayor on June 17.