Changes at City Hall Continue Under Coppola’s Administration

Changes in staffing following a new administration are nothing new or surprising. Six months after taking office, Port Orchard Mayor Lary Coppola is still not done with what appear to be matters of housekeeping.
Coppola has accepted the resignation of the third staff member to leave the city since he assumed his post in January.
City Clerk Michelle Merlino, who had worked 24 years for the city, submitted her resignation 11 days ago. The city council met in executive session Tuesday, and in a public meeting afterward approved a “separation and release agreement” with Merlino.
Coppola had no comment. Merlino, reached by phone at her South Kitsap home, also had nothing to say about her abrupt departure.
The story appears on the Kitsap Sun Web site.
Merlino’s resignation bears similarities to those of former city engineer, Maher Abed, who resigned in April, and former city planner, JoAnne Long-Woods, who resigned shortly after Coppola took office.
In all three cases, the individuals left shortly after submitting their resignations and had no comment on the circumstances leading up to their actions.
Of Abed’s resignation, Coppola said, “We thank him for his service to the city of Port Orchard and wish him well.”
Deputy Clerk Patti Kirkpatrick, who has been with the city for a year, is serving as interim city clerk. The council will vote on a permanent replacement for Merlino July 8. Kirkpatrick is technically next in line for the job and is likely to be appointed by the council.
Abed was replaced by engineer Mark Dorsey, who has worked for Olson and Associates, and Art Anderson and Associates. Long-Woods was replaced by James Weaver, a former planner for Kitsap County.
Anyone care to venture a guess as to who might be next?

In related news: Coppola last week announced he was stepping down from the Kitsap County Planning Commission, a volunteer board related to ladn use, due to lack of time.

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