UPDATED: City water resources manager resigns

CummingsJalynCiting the challenges of working at Bainbridge City Hall and the lure of a new job, Jalyn Cummings announced on Thursday that she’ll resign from her post as city’s water resources manager.

“Simply put, this is a tough place to work,” she said, noting several other recent resignations. “Now it’s just my time to go.”

Cummings, who will leave the city on Nov. 4 for a job with the National Park Service, has led high-profile efforts to determine the limits of the island’s groundwater supply and investigate contamination along its shorelines.

Focused on water quality and quantity monitoring, the water resources program Cummings leads is considered a vital city service by many local officials and residents. A recent community priorities survey ranked “ensuring adequate water supply” and “protecting water quality in Bainbridge’s streams and shorelines” as the city’s first and second priorities.

While she enjoyed the work and her coworkers, Cummings said “there is a fair amount, as a city employee, of defense you have to do.”

She said public “distrust of city employees” makes the job difficult, as does “everything on the list” noted by her former co-workers who have resigned in recent months. That list has included infighting and indecision on the part of elected officials, and an overall nasty tone to Bainbridge politics.

“All the controversy, it takes a toll on the average worker,” she said.

The hemorrhaging of employees is “the big elephant in the room that the City Council is going to have to look at and figure out.”

Cummings has taken a job as a hydrologist for the National Park Service. She’ll be based in the Big Thicket National Preserve in southeast Texas.

“It’s a job where we’re all on-board, working together,” she said. “It’s not steeped in controversy…because everyone wants to protect our national treasures.”

Cummings said she’s excited to begin her new job and to assist her parents in relocating nearby.

It’s also a full-circle return for the former park ranger.

“I started my career with the National Park Service and I want to finish my career with the National Park Service,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity I couldn’t resist.”

Cummings joined the city of Bainbridge Island in February 2005 after serving as a groundwater planner for Snohomish County.

While leading Bainbridge’s water program, Cummings oversaw a groundwater report that showed recent declines in some island wells. The report’s findings heightened concerns that the water supply may not be enough to accommodate the island’s growing population.

Cummings recently worked with the Kitsap County Health District to investigate contaminated water along several island shorelines. The study resulted in the repair of failed home septic systems and a clean bill of health for beaches previously closed to shellfish harvesting.

She leaves the city in the midst of a groundwater modeling program aimed at determining how much population growth the island’s groundwater supply can sustain. The program is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2010.

Cummings’ resignation follows closely after that of City Manager Mark Dombroski, who will leave at the end of this month, and shorelines planner Peter Namtvedt Best, who left last month. Other high-profile resignations this year include city engineer Bob Earl, public works director Randy Witt and police chief Matt Haney.

8 thoughts on “UPDATED: City water resources manager resigns

  1. Keep the lithium grease on the main bearing of the COBI revolving door and it spins again allowing a key staffer to escape. What gives with COBI? Doesn’t the staff know we have a new form of government and a new adult behavior among Council?

  2. We’re very sorry you’re leaving, Jalyn – but we understand why. The City of Bainbridge Island has gone from a promising beginning less than 20 years ago to become the most dysfunctional local government in the region. Best of luck to you!

  3. Nothing in the water- THANK the ex-Mayor for the atmosphere thast she created causing all the riffs and bad behavior that still slops over into today’s City Gov’t. BUT just remember, many of you did not recognize that Darlene had no ability to manage or lead a City of any size, even little ole Bainbridge. We are going to pay for putting her in as Mayor for yearsd to come!

  4. A little simplistic take on history Wade. You are beating a horse that not only has been put out to pasture, but was part of city leadership that included the council. Sure, I believe the ex-mayor had her issues and should have been a one-term experiment. The council also has their role in city hall as well. However, theirs is a role that is still continuing and expanded due to the new FOG. The council has been in charge of everything for many months now. At what point does the council look in a mirror? The council no longer has anyone else in local government to blame or point the finger at except themselves. If something doesn’t get done, money doesn’t get managed, or the work environment continues to spiral, it is COUNCIL’S FAULT.

  5. Hunter- Ordinarily I would tend to agree with your comments. BUT, cleaning up after the horrible job the ex-mayor did is taking a long time. So much was hidden that it must be dug out before it can be addresses and then to make things worse, look at the ineptitude of our famous, raise the taxes Peters.

    If we are not careful there is another Peter’s in the wings, that being Tim Jacobson. Electing him just means we have two Peters as he has come our openly and said it was Peters who had asked him to run and is supporting his candidacy. I would guess as people find this fact out the votes will shift to Kirsten who at least isn’t tied into a dunce as is Tim and has presented herself as an open, caring, listener who will represent us where Peters and probably Tim already know what is best for us and for sure Peters doesn’t listen.

  6. Wade, Thanks for sharing your views. Your insightful and articulate letter is sure to go a long way towards healing any lingering wounds. The whole community owes you a debt of gratitude that simply cannot be expressed in mere words. Thanks again for writing.

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