The Bainbridge Island City Council on March 9 unanimously approved an employment agreement with its next city manager.
Blair King, currently the city manager of Coronado, California, accepted the position and plans to start May 17.
“I am looking forward to working for the City Council for the benefit of the residents of Bainbridge,” King said. “I’ve had the good fortune of spending most of my career working for coastal communities, and Bainbridge shares the characteristics common to those places: beautiful, engaged citizenry and a pro-environmental orientation. I am a good match for the community, and I’m looking forward to getting to work.”
The City Council began the process of hiring a new city manager in July 2020. The City engaged Strategic Government Resources, Inc. (SGR) to conduct a national recruitment for candidates. SGR is a search firm that specializes in public sector management, and has supported several key recruitments for the City, including the selection of Police Chief Joe Clark.
In December 2020, the Council narrowed its search for a new city manager from a pool of 66 applicants to three finalists who participated in a series of virtual interviews with City staff, community partners and advisory group representatives. Following additional interviews, the Council on Jan. 26 directed SGR to move forward with contract negotiations with King.
“I’m just really excited. I think this is a great moment for our City,” Deputy Mayor Kirsten Hytopoulos said. “I think [King] has got an incredible amount of experience. I think he’s going to bring a real strength and integrity, and I’m really excited about it.”
King has served as city manager of Coronado since 2010, and has 36 years of local government experience, which includes 25 years as a city manager at cities throughout California. King is a former president of the San Diego County City/County Managers Association and former director of the League of California Cities City Managers Department. King holds a Master of Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Fresno.
King will relocate to Bainbridge Island with his wife, Nancy Adams. The couple has three daughters (two of whom currently live in the Pacific Northwest).
King will replace Morgan Smith whose contract expired in December 2020. The Council selected Ellen Schroer to serve as interim city manager until a new city manager was hired. Schroer joined the City 10 years ago as the director of finance and administrative services. She was promoted to deputy city manager in 2018.
The city manager reports to and is appointed by the City Council, as the City operates under a Council-Manager form of government. The city manager provides policy advice, directs the daily operations of City government, handles personnel functions and is responsible for preparing the City budget.
Watch the March 9 Council discussion at bainbridgewa.gov/1101.