Tag Archives: change-of-government election

Councilman Snow named city’s new ‘mayor’

City Councilman Chris Snow is the city’s new ceremonial mayor.

The City Council elected Snow to the position at a meeting on Wednesday night

The job comes with little to no authority beyond that of a council member, but Snow will replace former mayor Darlene Kordonowy on several of the regional boards she serves on.

The ceremonial mayor position is part of the the city’s new council-manager form of government. Island voters decided last month to do away with the city’s traditional mayor position and transfer its authority to the council.

City Adminstrator Mark Dombroski was recently named to the new position of city manager.

Snow’s council and mayoral term end Dec. 31. Snow has declined to seek reelection, leaving his South Ward position to three candidates.

Did Kordonowy twist Kitsap Transit’s arm to lobby the council on her behalf?

You can read a story in today’s Sun about some City Council members’ opposition to Darlene Kordonowy continuing to serve on regional boards she was appointed to as mayor.

It’s a straightforward argument: many of the positions are for mayors or council appointees only. Kordonowy’s not a mayor, and she’s not been appointed by the council. On the other hand, Kordonowy and some of her board colleagues say a new appointee could stall critical work, especially in areas of public transportation and affordable housing.

I didn’t include it in the story, but there’s a rumor circulating that Kordonowy was behind Kitsap Transit Director Dick Hayes’ visit to a recent council meeting. Driving up from Kitsap Transit’s Bremerton HQ, Hayes urged the council to allow Kordonowy’s continued participation on his organization’s board.

I mentioned the rumor to Kordonowy and Hayes. Both were quick to dispel it.

“Jeez, they’re peevish up there,” Hayes said. “I don’t want to get into a battle, but I can say that’s categorically not true.”

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New poll: How was the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak?

Cast your vote on the new poll over to the right. This time, I’m asking readers what they thought of the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak.

The corroded sewer pipe leaked an estimated 140,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the harbor from Saturday to early Tuesday morning, when the leak was fixed. Health officials are still advising people to avoid contact with the harbor’s water and tidelands, as well as the shore from Yeomalt Point to Rockaway Beach.

You can find the results from the last poll (“What’s the main reason voters chose the council-manager government?”) below. Seventy-nine people responded. Dissatisfaction with Mayor Darlene Kordonowy was cited overwhelmingly as the reason islanders changed the city’s form of government.

1. 48 percent: Dissatisfaction with Mayor Darlene Kordonowy (38 Votes)
2. 29 percent: A desire for a more efficient and cost-effective City Hall (23 Votes)
3. 9 percent: City staff exercise too much power (7 Votes)
4. 8 percent: The mayor position had too much power (6 Votes)
5. 5 percent: Citizens want more say at City Hall (4 Votes)
6. 1 percent: Most cities of BI’s size have council-manager governments (1 Vote)

Who’ll step up to lead the new city government?

With the mayor’s powers now passing to the City Council, three upcoming council races suddenly have added importance.

But council members Debbie Vancil, Kjell Stoknes and Chris Snow are on the fence as to whether they’ll run again, and no one else has stepped up to take their places.

Read my story about this issue here.

The filing deadline to run for City Council is June 5. Sharpen your pencils.

New city government set to go ‘live’ next week

While it quickly became apparent on election night that voters don’t want a mayor in City Hall, it’ll likely take a week before the head office is passed to the new city manager.

According to City Attorney Paul McMurray, the transition to a council-manager government takes affect on June 3, when Tuesday’s election is certified by the Kitsap County Auditor.

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, at that point, has the option of becoming a eighth City Council member until her mayoral term ends in January. The council would then revert to seven members.

Kordonowy is open to a seven-month council term.

“If there’s going to be a change, I want to continue to be apart of (the new government), and I’d be willing to serve,” she said on Tuesday, shortly after early election results showed the council-manager measure was passing by a wide margin.

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Bainbridge council-manager discussion on NPR’s KUOW

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy and council-manager supporter Bob Fortner were on KUOW’s “Conversation” yesterday.

It was a short bit among other discussions about Iran’s missle tests and credit card debt. You can listen to the archived show here. The part about the council-manager issue begins about four and a half minutes in.

Kordonowy said criticism of her second term was part of the reason the measure passed.

“I can’t help but take things personal,” she said.

Kordonowy said she was disappointed in how well she was able to manage the city during “in difficult times.”

Fortner said voters passed the measure because the city’s government structure is “flawed,” giving the mayor too much power and concealing processes at City Hall that should be open.

Get ready for a new government, Bainbridge…

Jim and Louise Mooney cheer as election returns show voters approving a new form of government for Bainbridge Island. Photo: Carolyn Yaschur
Jim and Louise Mooney cheer as election returns show voters approving a new form of government for Bainbridge Island.
Declaring a mandate for change, supporters of a new form of city government cheered early election results showing over 70 percent of island voters no longer want a mayor at City Hall.

“This is absolutely huge,” said Linda Owens to a crowd of about 50 people gathered to watch election results at the Treehouse pub on Tuesday night. “This vote to adopt the council-manager form of government…is a clear and direct message from an aware and aroused citizenry that they want a sweeping and profound change in how city business is carried out.”

Owens, manager for the Vote Council-Manager ’09 campaign, said the strong support in early returns all but guarantees that the island’s mayor will be replaced with a hired manager.

“It’s a mandate,” said Councilman Bill Knobloch, a supporter of the council-manager form. “It sends a definite message to the government – including the council – and we’d better listen.”

The city’s management now falls under the authority of the City Council.

Supporters say the new form of government will heal many of the city’s ills, making it more transparent, responsive, cost-effective and efficient.

The Kitsap County Auditor’s office reported 71 percent support for the council-manager form shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday. About 44 percent of the island’s voters had cast a ballot on the change-of-government question.

Council-manager supporter Elise Wright celebrated the results but girded herself for the transition ahead.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “But now we really have a lot of work to do.”

Wright said the council, which now takes the reins of city government, must find a way to work more collaboratively.

“They have a lot of new responsibilities,” she said. “They really are in charge now.”

Mayor Darlene Kordonowy, who now has the option of becoming an eighth council member until her term ends, announced on the eve of the election that she’d not seek reelection.

“The early results are pretty definitive,” Kordonowy said shortly after the results were announced. “It’s sad to see this change. I expected (the measure) to win, but not by that margin.

It’s time to step aside. That’s what voters are saying.”

Mayor vs. manager: a battle of bobbleheads


With wobbly necks and nodding heads, bobblehead dolls are an agreeable companion in any public debate.

Bob Fortner brought eight with him to Bainbridge High School for a Monday night debate over whether the city of Bainbridge should swap its elected mayor for a hired manager.

“Our current form looks like this,” said Fortner, a proponent of the manager form, as he set down a single bobblehead to represent the island’s mayor. Then, setting seven bobbleheads on a podium, Fornter continued, “This way is a broader representation of voters’ values, philosophies and interests.”

Fortner, an island business owner and longtime City Hall watcher, urged the audience of about 60 people to vote on May 19 to eliminate the mayor position and concentrate power with the seven-member City Council, which would hire a manager to carry out the city’s administrative duties.

Fortner’s debate opponent, island resident and University of Washington public policy scholar David Harrison, took the podium, swiveling the dolls around for nose-to-nose face offs. Their heads shook and bobbed to seven different rhythms.

“Because I’m a friend of Bob’s, I’m not going to have them kicking each other,” Harrison said, joking about the sharply divided council.

Whether mayor- or manager-led, the council will continue to tussle over conflicting views and agendas, Harrison said. The main difference, he added, is that a manager will have no authority to rein the council in or focus its attention on common goals.

“The single biggest problem with the council-manager form is that it won’t have the central focus for government that we desperately need,” Harrison said.

Fortner said eliminating the mayor position will spread power among the seven-member council, making government more accountable and transparent.

“We’ve outgrown the utility of a small town mayor,” he said.

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Kitsap Sun backs BI’s mayor form of government

The Sun’s editorial board urged Bainbridge voters to stick with the city’s existing form of government.

According to the board, City Hall’s problems are rooted in personalities, the economy and divergent agendas rather than the city’s system of government.

“In our view the current situation is at the heart a personality conflict among elected officials and, at times, interest groups on the island. Conflicts are exacerbated now by a falling economy and incredibly unstable city budget. But relationship problems aren’t enough to justify a complete overhaul of government.”

Read the full editorial here.

Islanders will vote on May 19 on whether to eliminate the city’s elected mayor position and replace it with a hired manager under the authority of the City Council.

Speaker says manager-led government is good, but electing good people is better

Whether Bainbridge’s government sticks with its traditional political model or switches to one rooted in the business world, City Hall will remain only as good as the people chosen to run it.

That was the message municipal government expert Carl Neu drove home during a Tuesday night forum exploring the differences between mayor- and manager-led cities. Islanders will vote May 19 on whether to do away with the city’s elected mayor position in favor of a manager hired by the City Council.

“As you get into this question, try to separate yourselves from personalities and decide what makes sense structurally,” the Colorado-based consultant said to the over 100 people gathered in Bainbridge High School’s commons. “There’s never been a form of government that can overcome the foibles of humanity.”

While a manager-led government is no “silver bullet,” Neu characterized it as generally more cost-effective, efficient and transparent than the mayor form.

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