Tag Archives: layoffs

City dumps its attorney to save on legal expenses

In a surprise move, the city cut its staff attorney position to reduce its legal expenses.

The job was created in 2005 to save the city money, tackle internal legal issues and stem the growing number of lawsuits against the city.

The city’s legal woes don’t seem to have abated much (see Bainbridge Ratepayers Alliance lawsuit), but the city has a perhaps bigger challenge: sharply declining revenues and a nearly empty bank account.

Read my story HERE.

City groundskeeping cutbacks making for a shaggy, weedy summer

BI police are fighting weeds with rocks
BI police are fighting weeds with rocks

Here’s my weekend story on the impact of the city’s drastic groundskeeping and roadside mowing cutbacks.

Bainbridge police are trained to weed out crime.

But weeding out weeds? Not so much.

The city has slashed funding for landscape maintenance, forcing police, groups of senior citizens and others to get their hands dirty as volunteer gardeners and landscapers.

Officers and police support staff spent much of Saturday planting new shrubs and replacing their station’s front yard with a lower-maintenance rock garden.

“We’re growing rocks now,” joked an officer as she walked past white stones where green grass had been last week.

Where volunteers aren’t picking up the slack, city officials say islanders can expect a shaggier look this summer on the generally well-groomed island.

“We have less hours and less people to do these activities,” city public works assistant director Lance Newkirk said. “Things may look different this year.”

The biggest difference may be seen along roadsides. In the past, the city crews mowed the sides of all paved public roadways during the summer. This year, the city will mow once and do a few spot mowings at intersections where grass and weeds block visibility.

Continue reading

Seven Bainbridge teaching jobs saved by grassroots campaign

Seven Bainbridge teachers can trade in their pink slips for paychecks this fall.

In just over a month, Bainbridge school supporters raised over $200,000 to retain teachers laidoff during recent budget cuts. The donations – which came from yard sales, car washes and a few students’ piggy banks – will be combined with $50,000 the Bainbridge Schools Foundation raised last year and $250,000 it expects to raise during the next school year. The combined $500,000 will return seven teachers to their classrooms.

“The community has been unbelievably generous and helpful and inspiring,” foundation Executive Director Vicky Marsing said. “And it all happened in a very short time.”

Tuesday capped the five-week-long “Save Our Teachers” campaign, which was launched shortly after the Bainbridge Island School district announced it would layoff 17 teachers to help offset a $2.2 million budget shortfall.

Continue reading

Weekend fundraisers net $50,000 to retain laid-off teachers

Bainbridge school supporters raised $50,000 over the weekend to save some teachers from being laid off.

Islanders washed cars, hosted a school dance, held a garage sale and collected donations to raise funds for the Bainbridge Schools Foundation’s “Save Our Teachers” campaign.

Foundation Executive Director Vicky Marsing called the effort “unbelievable.” The garage sale doubled organizers’ expectations, raising more than $22,000.

Marsing highlighted a couple small community contributions, including a local boy who played his saxophone at the garage sale for donations and an older gentleman with a vast wine collection who plans a wine-tasting to raise money. Parents have been making donations to the campaign instead of giving teachers end-of-the-year gifts, Marsing said.

Continue reading