Tag Archives: Bob Scales

Bainbridge councilman silenced…yet again


The City Council dysfunction-o-meter rose a few notches on Wednesday night when the council voted to silence one of their own.

The council voted 4-2 to stop Councilman Bob Scales from asking certain questions about the mayor’s authority to spend city money. The meeting marked the second time in three weeks that Scales has been silenced by his colleagues.

“I’ve been on the council for six years, and I’ve never been treated this way,” he said at the meeting’s conclusion. “I’m getting fed up. I’m not going away, and I’m not keeping quiet.”

Scales had asked Steve DiJulio, a municipal law expert invited to discuss the city’s council-manager form of government, whether a minority of council members could spend city money without the full council’s approval.

Earlier this month, Scales accused Mayor Debbi Lester and council members David Ward and Steve Bonkowski of overstepping their authority when they hired a law firm to aid them in removing the city manager. The spending was done without the full council’s knowledge.

The council voted to reject the $3,500 legal bill once the spending was publicly disclosed.

In answer to Scales’ question, DiJulio said unequivocally that a minority of council members cannot spend city funds.

“You don’t have any authority to represent the city without the consent of the full council,” he said.

Lester interrupted Scales when he brought up whether her largely ceremonial mayoral position has any special spending authority. She told Scales to save his questions about the spending issue for another meeting. When he persisted, council members told him he was out of order.

“I’m out of order asking a question? Are you serious?” he asked.
Continue reading

Scales announces bid for City Council

Former mayoral candidate Bob Scales today announced his candidacy for the North Ward City Council seat currently held by Debbie Vancil.

Scales, who served a recent four-year term for the second North Ward council seat, said he hopes to help the city’s transition to a council-manager form of government and ease tensions on the council.

“It is time to give the people what they voted for – real change and reform in City Hall,” Scales said in a statement.

Scales’ bid for mayor was cut short on May 19 when voters opted to eliminate the mayor position.

“While the voters probably had many different reasons for wanting a different type of government, one thing is very clear – there is widespread dissatisfaction with the way our city is currently being run,” he said.

Voters, he said, must also alter the current make-up of the council to initiate a new era of efficiency and public trust.

“A city cannot function well when there is constant infighting on the City Council,” he said. “When major decisions are made with one- vote margins, it produces uncertainty and anxiety.”

The 47-year-old North Madison Avenue resident works as a senior policy analyst for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. Scales moved to Bainbridge in 1999 after working as a King County deputy prosecutor.

Scales’ council term and his run for mayor focused on non-motorized transportation improvements, environmental preservation affordable housing and boosting cost-effectiveness in City Hall.

Vancil, who has served two terms on the council, has not decided whether she’ll seek reelection. Aware that Scales may run for her seat, Vancil noted late last month that she has a longer track record of community service on Bainbridge and is more of a consensus-builder than her potential opponent.

Scales now considering a run for council

Until tonight, Bob Scales was a candidate for mayor.

Now he’s pondering a bid for the newly-empowered City Council.

“I never say never,” Scales, a former councilman, said on Tuesday night, shortly after early election results showed over 70 percent of island voters want to swap their elected mayor for a manager hired by the council.

“I never planned to run for council again. I’ll just relax for a week or so before I make a decision.”

Scales suspends campaign for mayor

Former city councilman Bob Scales has suspended his mayoral campaign to focus his attention on the debate over whether Bainbridge should change its form of government.

Scales said he has been kept out of public discussions about next month’s change-of-government election because he is a candidate for mayor and supports retaining the mayor-led form of government.

“The council-manager campaign has refused to engage anyone with another point-of-view,” Scales said. “I’ve said ‘let’s not present one side of the story. Let’s mix it up.’”

If supporters of a manager-led government won’t include him as a candidate, maybe they’ll include him if he suspends his campaign, Scales said.

Linda Owens, manager of the Vote Council-Manager campaign, disputes Scales’ claim that her group is unwilling to debate him.

“If someone wants to organize a public event (through) a civic organization, we’d be there,” she said.

Continue reading

Blogging about changing BI government

Mayoral candidate Bob Scales has launched a new blog focused on the island’s May 19 vote to change its form of government.

On the ballot will be the choice between establishing a new manager-led government or retaining the existing mayor-led form. In the manager form, the council chooses the city’s leader. In the mayor form, voters make the call.

Here’s what Scales has to say about his blog, Bainbridge Island – Form of Government:

“This will not be an easy decision to make. Each form of government has its own strengths and weaknesses. Neither form of government is inherently superior to the other. There are valid arguments that can be made both for and against each form of government.

In order for the voters to make a well informed decision in May, we need to begin talking about the issues now. We need to have public forums, community discussions and and an open debate in the press. It is essential that all of the relevant facts are made available to the voters so they can decide which type of government is best for Bainbridge Island.”

The blog contains fact sheets on form-of-government issues and an online venue to debate the pros and cons of mayor- and manager-led cities.

Scales: “Who’s in charge at City Hall?”

In an open letter to the City Council, mayoral candidate Bob Scales said a lack of leadership contributed to the city’s financial troubles. Read the letter below…

As I watched your discussions tonight about the city’s financial problems, I kept asking myself: “Who is in charge?”

Is it Mayor Darlene Kordonowy? City Administrator Mark Dombroski? Finance Director Elray Konkel? City Attorney Paul McMurray? A council member? Who is going to lead the city in this time of crisis? Who is going to take responsibility for solving the city’s financial mess? Who is going to come up with a financial recovery plan? Who is going to implement that plan?

Nothing was done in the mayor’s proposed 2009-2010 budget to reduce the impacts of this economic crisis. Nothing was done by the council during the budget process to protect the city from insolvency. Less than two months after the budget was adopted, the city finds itself on the brink of bankruptcy. This is no longer a dire prediction made by a few concerned citizens. These are the words of your own city administrator. The city is insolvent. Unfortunately it is an admission that may come too late to avert the city’s imminent collapse.

Continue reading

Kordonowy undecided on reelection bid

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy said today that she has not yet decided whether she’ll seek a third term.

Former city councilman Bob Scales, a critic of the mayor, announced this morning that he would seek the mayor’s office.

Kordonowy said she would wait until after state legislators decide whether to allow Bainbridge to hold a special election that could replace the elected mayor position with a manager hired by the council. The special election’s supporters hope to put the question up for a vote in late May. If the measure fails, the mayoral election will occur on-schedule in November.

Continue reading

Scales announces mayoral bid

Bob Scales

UPDATED: Former Bainbridge city councilman Bob Scales announced on Tuesday that he will run for mayor.

Scales, whose four-year council term ended in 2007, promised to safeguard the island’s water supply, protect the environment, improve the island’s transportation networks and reform the city’s financial management.

“Our city is suffering from a lack of leadership,” Scales said. “We need to have a strong, experienced and professional leader in the mayor’s office. We need a leader who can reform, reorganize and revitalize our city government.”

Scales is the first candidate to declare candidacy for November’s mayoral election. Mayor Darlene Kordonowy has not announced whether she’ll seek a third term.

Scales said the city is in dire need of better financial planning and accountability.

“The city of Bainbridge Island is running out of time and money,” he said. “The city is adrift and in financial disarray. Millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted each year on an inefficient and ineffective bureaucracy.”

Scales is a senior policy analyst for Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. In that role, Scales has “seen first hand what a positive impact an experienced mayor can have on a community,” he said.

A Seattle native, Scales moved to Bainbridge in 1999 after earning a law degree from the University of Washington and serving as a King County deputy prosecutor. He has also worked in an immunology lab and as a tour guide and English teacher in China.

Scales was a strong advocate for non-motorized transportation and affordable housing while on the Bainbridge council.

He was an outspoken critic of the mayor’s budget proposals and financial management during and after his council term.

For more information, visit scalesformayor.com