Tag Archive | "Lance Newkirk"


City Hires New Public Works Director

City Manager Doug Schulze announced on Friday, October 25, that Barry Loveless is filling the position of new Public Works Director for the City of Bainbridge Island (COBI).

Loveless comes fresh from a position as the Public Works Director for the City of Poulsbo, where he worked since 2008. Before that he was Senior Program Manager for Kitsap County Public Works. Loveless also worked for over 20 years in various public works/engineering capacities for the U.S. Navy, including as Regional Public Works Program Director for Navy Region Northwest.

Barry LovelessLoveless is a Licensed Professional Engineer who holds a master’s degree in construction management from Georgia Tech University. He brings many years of experience in all municipal public works and engineering functions, including managing four utilities (water, sewer, stormwater and solid waste) and operations and maintenance of streets, parks, trails, and buildings.

“It is exciting to bring someone with Barry’s experience, background, and familiarity with the region on board,” said Schulze.

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Image and photo courtesy of COBI. 

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Interim Public Works Director Replaces Lance Newkirk

John Cunningham has been appointed as Interim Public Works Director for the City of Bainbridge Island. He is filling the position vacated by former Director Lance Newkirk, who resigned on April 26, 2013.

Cunningham’s tenure here will begin Monday, June 3. He is a Registered Professional Civil Engineer with over 35 years experience. In 2010, he retired as Public Works Director for the City of Sammamish, Washington. Since then, he has served as an interim and contract employee for several agencies.

Cunningham also served as Deputy Public Works Director for the City of Olympia and Public Works Director for the City of DuPont.

Cunningham will serve as Interim until the search for a permanent Public Works Director is complete, which is expected to take approximately four months.

Related Story

City Management Exodus Continues as Public Works Director Resigns


Image courtesy of COBI.

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Speed Signs on Madison Installed to Improve Safety with $240K WSDOT Grant

7:54 p.m.

Have you noticed the new permanent electronic “Your Speed” signs along Madison Avenue between High School Road and Highway 305? Installed this week, they are part of a Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Improvements program along that section of Madison.

“Unfortunately it took a bike accident to make Bainbridge Island eligible for a safety improvement grant from the Washington State Department of Transportation,” said Bainbridge Island Public Works Director Lance Newkirk. WSDOT awarded Bainbridge $240,000 to pay for the Your Speed signs, along with improved bike lanes and a pedestrian sidewalk.

The grant was specifically given to address safety problems along that stretch of roadway, which includes the busy roundabout intersection at High School Road near BHS and Commodore, the entrance to the Aquatics Center and Boys and Girls Club, the Ordway School zone, a low-visibility area where Madison meets New Brooklyn Road, our main fire station, and the tricky intersection where Madison curves to meet Highway 305.

Newkirk did not have specific data about the efficacy of Your Speed signs, but he said based on feedback from engineers and public works personnel from other cities the signs have had “good success” in helping remind drivers to slow down.

Islander Ann Kelley said she slows down immediately when she sees her speed. Her friend Monica Slate said she slows down because she is afraid other drivers will see her speed. Whether you’re responding to your own conscience or concerned about social stigma, the bottom line of slowing down in speed zones is a good thing, especially in a community often driven by nonnegotiable ferry schedules.

Newkirk explained that the BI Police Department owns the portable speed trailer that turns up around the Island in different locations and has been along that stretch of Madison many times: “They move it around depending on citizen complaints or requests.” I can think of other places where such signs would be welcome reminders to “slow down for Island time.”


Photo by Sarah Lane.

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Council Stalls Summer Road Repair, Risks Completion of Chip Seal

by Sarah Lane July 7 2012 8:25 a.m.

At the July 2nd City Council meeting, Lance Newkirk, the city’s Director of Public Works, asked the Council to approve a contract with Doolittle Construction of Bellevue to provide chip seal services for numerous Bainbridge roads as part of the city’s capital roads program budget for 2012.

But Councilmember Ward punched on the brakes, potentially threatening the completion of the road repair project in 2012. He questioned the necessity for the city to use double chip seal instead of single and said that he was very disappointed that the city staff had not addressed this issue. He made a motion that the contract approval be tabled until his concerns were addressed.

The Council approved the motion to delay, with opposition from Councilmembers Blair and Hytopoulos (Scales was absent).

With the delay, the city is in danger of running out of time to complete the chip seal program, as the process is dependent on good weather and warm temperatures. Newkirk explained that even if the contract were approved immediately, the contractor would need 10 to 14 days to complete bidding requirements. Then, he said, they would need about 10 more days to mobilize. He concluded that that would leave little time for a “very temperature-sensitive operation.”

Acting City Manager Morgan Smith said if we had a rainy August we wouldn’t be able to complete the seal in time. She added that single chip seal was being used on some Bainbridge roads.

Another danger of delaying is that the contractor will pull out, leaving the city with no other options. Newkirk told the Council that there had been only two firms that picked up the RFP, and then only one, Doolittle Construction, had even applied.

Later in the meeting, as the Council discussed their progress in finding a new city manager, Hytopoulos brought up the chip seal delay, saying, “If I were a candidate for city manager, and I watched what just transpired with the chip seal program, I would have grave concerns about whether this council is committed to this form of government. I don’t believe that is the way we should be talking to staff, and I don’t believe it’s the way we should be changing the manner in which we do chip seal once the bid has been accepted.”

Ward told the Council he had made Newkirk aware over a month ago about his concern over the matter. He also said that double chip seal is not the standard procedure for the Washington State Department of Transportation on low-volume roads and wondered why we needed it on Bainbridge, especially since it costs double the amount of single chip seal.

Newkirk countered he had not received any specific questions from Council and still didn’t know what was needed in terms of quantification of the differences. He said that to him it seemed that there had needed to be some sort of official request in writing to mobilize the staff to provide further information. He then offered to show Ward an 8-slide presentation then and there explaining the need for double chip seal. But Ward declined, saying he and Newkirk would speak at 8:00 the next morning.

Ward was tasked with putting together a set of questions for Newkirk. Blair suggested that they have a conversation instead to ensure that Ward’s concerns were clear to Newkirk.

What is the difference between single and double you ask? A single seal includes application of just one level of aggregate and one level of binder. A double seal includes two levels of each. In their book, Chip Seal Best Practices, Douglas D. Gransberh and David M. B. James describe the different uses for each type: “Double chip seals have less noise from traffic, provide additional waterproofing, and are a more robust seal in comparison with a single chip seal. Therefore, double chip seals are used in high-stress situations, such as areas that have a high percentage of truck traffic or on steep grades.” So, are the roads scheduled to be sealed highly trafficked? Do they receive a lot of truck traffic? Do they include steep grades?

These questions likely could have been answered swiftly at the meeting. More important, they could have been addressed before an RFP was issued and a bid was accepted. Now, we will have to let the chip seal fall where it may.

Photo by Zahir Mohiuddin.

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City Hall

City Council This Week: January 31, 2012

Councilmember Scales was not there at the outset, but there was a quorum. The meeting followed an Executive Session about the collective bargaining negotiations.

Councilmember Blair explained how a study session works. She said it’s more informal and includes community reports and commentary. She said it helps the Council to be briefed on issues. Staff, community groups, committees may bring the issues. She added that it’s also a regular meeting in that a vote may be taken.

Here were the elements of the Study Session:

A. Puget Sound Energy Briefing

A representative from PSE named Linda (sorry–couldn’t get that last name) spoke to the council.

1. 3-year commitment with community. The speaker reviewed this commitment, which is that if the community keeps energy use below the threshold of 58 megawatts, PSE will avoid the need for a new substation or a rebuild. She added the caveat that the threshold will exist unless they discover some significant operational stresses on that system that put customers at risk or their ability to serve them. She said that we did exceed the threshold twice, on December 13 (65.9) and on January 19 (64). She said that’s not a trigger but it is a reminder to the community to start lowering usage when the needle goes into the orange and red zone on the dashboard (which we have on our home page). She said there are a couple of risks that have surfaced:

  • She said our transformers between substations are exceeding their nameplate capacity (the recommended operating level), which could lead to equipment failure.
  • She said we had an oil leak and had to take the substation off line. So we were down to two substations. When that happened, the Port Madison sub peaked at 28.3. There were three other days of peaking on the Winslow substation. They are exceeding their recommended peak loads.
  • On November 30, PSE measured low voltage on several distribution lines. That’s a situation where there’s not enough capacity to meet the demand on an individual line. She said that can cause what customers see as problems with their electronics. The pumps at sewer treatment plant can trigger off, for example.

2. 2012 work plan. PSE is focusing on the distribution system this year:

  • Five treewire projects (treewire is coated electric line less susceptible to branches; it doesn’t trip out as easily): Miller between Arrow Point and New Brooklyn; Fletcher Bay between New Brooklyn and Bucklin; Eagle Harbor Drive; New Sweden, Taylor, and Blakely; and Baker Hill. These are all places where we have impacts from limbs.
  • Structural analysis on steel towers at Agate Pass.
  • Underground express feed to Winslow project, which will continue with Phase II of the project. The speaker said Phase I is complete, on time, underbudget. Some trees on Madison Avenue are in the way that may need to be replaced or relocated.
  • Annual tree trimming and maintenance (26.5 miles of distribution line, 7.5 miles of transmission) and the changing out of 51 poles.

3. Look ahead. PSE wants to start making multiyear plans (5 or 6 years out). The speaker said they’re trying to sequence with City capital improvement projects, for example. She showed a watch map, looking at data of outages in those areas.

Councilmember Hytopoulos asked about the potential tree removal in Murden Cove Phase II.

Mayor Lester pointed out that there is new stormwater load with the removal of some mature trees in the Murden Cove area and that we will need to look at that in the future.

A citizen from RAISE asked for data from PSE about capacity.

B. Unocal Site Park Project Update, AB 12-006

Mayor Lester said that in 2010 a citizen group formed to figure out what to do with the Unocal Property. The group included Rotarians, Women in Black, Arts and Humanities Council reps, and others.

Bruce Weiland spoke on behalf of that group. They’ve talked to Parks Department, they’ve reached out and expanded the membership of the original group, they received a 100 percent endorsement from Kitsap Transit, and they spoke with the Department of Energy (because of site issues).

Weiland reviewed the history. The property is jointly owned by COBI and Kitsap Transit. It was the site of a gas station. There was some leakage, as is typical of gas stations.

The initial vision is that this is a crossroads for the Island and a gateway to Kitsap and Olympics. He described it now as an embarrassment. Group is envisioning a passive, attractive design for the area. He clarified that it’s not about playgrounds or firepits. He described it as a landscape walkthrough with paths, benches, low-maintenance landscaping. Weiland said there are 60 groups on the roster including the Rotary. He said it would be privately funded, and he listed a range of group members.

He said he was hoping for formal approval from the Council. They’re scheduled to be on the agenda tomorrow with the Parks Board. He made four pledges:

  1. He emphasized it will not cost the City anything.
  2. He committed to a broad, public process involving asking the community what they think belongs in the park.
  3. He stressed that the Parks Dept. has tentatively said they will maintain the park.
  4. He promised they would do nothing environmentally irresponsible. He explained that the park would not slow down cleanup of the area and he explained how future remediation would work.

One citizen pointed requested that the City find out what specifically is in the soil there to avoid liability. She said there are grants available for cleanup. She thought the process could be completed quickly. Robert Dashiell said that the last monitoring was done in 2009 but that it had been monitored constantly before that. He said it is a safe site but that there are 43 other sites on the island that are dangerous. Weiland said that he supports the efforts to continue testing the site and that the improvements his group are proposing could easily be removed if needed down the road.

Ward wanted to know if Weiland and his group objected to the voluntary cleanup program of the DOE. Jill Johnson of Parametrix said that the only reason to avoid that is funding.

Lester moved to adopt Resolution No. 2012-02 regarding the park at the site. The Council voted to begin developing the park site (with the understanding that further exploration would be made into cleaning up the site).

C. Rockaway Beach Road Stabilization

Lance Newkirk of Public Works was the speaker. He explained what the city is planning to do to stabilize Rockaway Beach Road. He gave a historical over view of the slope failure. The city became aware in 1999 of the problem after a slide. There was a slope failure in 2005. Berger/Abam’s Bob Hernandez spoke about the design. He talked about the public safety issue and the pressure to get permits quickly. Because the Council declared this an emergency there is an obligation to follow through. He spoke about risks to the cost estimate. The council affirmed the proposed design approach. The Council voted to authorize the staff to negotiate phase II of the design.

D. Multi-Agency Police Response Interlocal Agreement, AB 12-010

Police Chief John Fehlman requested that the city authorize him and the city manager to sign the Kitsap County  investigative response team mutual aid agreement. The Council did so.

E. Shoreline Master Program Update Schedule

Morgan Smith presented the updated schedule. The planning commission will need 4 to 7 further meetings to complete the SMP and the Grow Community review. Then there would be four weeks to prepare for the public hearing. This would mean that the Council would be ready to consider the matter in June or July.

Councilmember Hytopoulos expressed “shock” and “concern” that the process was taking so long. She had understood that the Council would be reviewing this in February. An ad hoc committee was proposed to help push things along.

In citizen comment, Debbi Vann agreed with Hytopoulos that the Council would not be able to meet the SMP deadline if they weren’t presented with the draft until June or July. She encouraged councilmembers to begin educating themselves now on the complex issues involved.

F. City Manager’s Contract, AB 12-012

Councilmember Blair said that Councilmember Scales had asked to speak about the Executive Session on this matter. The Executive Session had preceded the Council meeting. Councilmember Scales moved that Executive Session confidentiality be waived from January 2012 for the limited purpose of discussing how the council reached its decision on the amendment. Mayor Lester seconded it.

The motion was unanimously approved. Blair said that the Council had asked Councilmember Bonkowski to be their spokesperson on this matter. He said that he, Scales, and Ward had been tasked to draft an amendment to the contract to enable them to seek a new manager.

In citizen comment, Barry Peters expressed concern about the city’s need for continuity and effective management. He said he was worried that the move to find a new manager would hurt the city. He asked the Council to reconsider its decision.

Debbi Vann thanked the council for taking its move on the manager issue.

Hillary Franz talked about what she described as Bauer’s leadership in transforming the city financially. She referred to a communication gap between the Council and the community. She warned the Council that they would be spending their tenure looking to rebuild the leadership they have right now with Bauer as manager.

Robert Dashiell said he had been hoping for transparency and openness when he voted for a change in government and deplored the lack of transparency that he perceives. Applause erupted after his words.

Yeta Hammer (sp?) wondered why the prior council needed a consultant to determine whether the manager was the right one. She said that transparency is very difficult to have. She said she was discouraged from speaking with the city attorney and is not so pleased with the city management.

Hytopoulos said that regardless of the different positions on the Council, the council worked together very well in their conversations. She said that some communitymembers have been worried about councilmembers’ ability to work together, but that so far she is impressed, that the outcome is the result of adult conversation. Ward agreed.

Bonkowski moved that the Council approve the amendment to the City Mangers’ contract. It was unanimously approved.

After a recess, Ward moved that they use a search firm to look for a replacement for Bauer and begin a study session on the matter.

Scales said he supported the amendment because he believed that it was in the best interest of the City because it provides for a transition period. He said there is no question that the Council has the authority to search for a new manager. He said that he believes he has a very different perspective on this issue from his colleagues. He said he has more experience on this council than his colleagues combined. He said he has been through the selection process before and that he understands how the departure of a key person can negatively impact operations and how the selection process often comes down to luck, that there’s no way to know if someone will be successful in that position.

Hytopoulos called a point of order. She said she was concerned that Scales was being allowed to state his position because the Council is not allowed to have this conversation within the confines of their agreement. She also said she was concerned that his words on the record would impact their future ability to secure a manager. Blair ruled that Scales could have 5 more minutes and that it should relate specifically to this motion.

Scales said he didn’t know that councilmembers could be limited in time and that he didn’t know if he would have time to complete his remarks. Blair said she would allow him 10 minutes.

Scales continued. He said you can’t turn in a city manager every 18 months like a used car. He said that no city manager candidate would knowingly enter into an abusive relationship, likening the relationship between city manager and council to that of a marriage.

Blair interrupted him. She said that his comments would be appropriate as part of the discussion next week about how to proceed. Scales said he did not understand why he wasn’t allowed to make his comments. He said it was outrageous. He said his comments were relevant to the decision to look for a new manager and so it was appropriate to the motion. Blair allowed him to continue.

He referred to the split vote on whether to make the manager’s position permanent as a destabilizing move. He referred to the Bainbridge Review and the Bainbridge Islander (we weren’t mentioned at all) as being singular in focus about one person and her accusations. A point of order was called again. Blair asked Scales to conclude by remaking his point. Scales said that the recent history on the Island will be extremely important to potential candidates and that this is why he doesn’t believe we will be able to attract a city manager.

The council moved to a vote to initiate a search for a new city manager and have a study session at the next meeting.

Hytopoulos said she wanted an opportunity to respond and make a comment. The council voted 5 to 2 to continue discussion. Scales complained again that he was being silenced and that he no longer felt it was productive to be there and he left.

Hytopoulos said it was absolutely unfair to the Council to be put in the position of not being able to explain how they reached their decision. She said there was a reason the Council could not be transparent about a private conversation. She said it was not serving the community’s interest to create a record of this not being a viable place for a candidate.

Hillary Franz returned to the podium. She said she went through three interview processes when she was a coucilmember. She said every one of them looked back through the newspapers and said,  “Can you explain the six years of bad press? This doesn’t look like a great place to work.” She told the Council they don’t have a history or a reputation to show to a potential candidate.

Hammer returned to the podium and said we did get to know the council through the election process.


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Rockaway Beach Rd.

Temporary Fixes to Begin for Rockaway Road “Emergency”

Starting October 17, Rockaway Road residents will see some changes and preliminary fixes of the crumbling road, which is situated on an unstable feeder bluff.

First, workers will move the concrete traffic barricades inland away from the shoreline bluff to make a short one-lane road segment to be shared by traffic going in both directions. Stop signs at both ends and additional signage will help drivers negotiate the single lane. Because the road will be moved farther inland, weight restrictions will be lifted.

Public Works Director Lance Newkirk wants people to understand that the City might have to “impose additional traffic control measures as conditions warrant,” referring to the already-begun rainy season.

The road fix scheduling came about after the City Council’s August approval of Resolution 2011-19, declaring an emergency and directing immediate attention to the Rockaway Beach Road bluff area. The resolution said, among other things, that “despite the City’s efforts to protect it, the bluff supporting Rockaway Beach Road has, through landslides and other natural processes, eroded to the point that the structural integrity of Rockaway Beach Road has been seriously threatened.” It also said that Rockaway Rd. Repairs“Consultants retained by the City have advised that unless the City undertakes major actions to prevent it, there is a serious risk that the roadway will fail during the upcoming winter storm season.”

Fire Chief Hank Teran, in a letter appended to the Resolution, opposed closure of the road, whether it was intentional or through failure to fix it, citing the Fire Department response time impacts that would result from a closure.

Earlier this month the City awarded a professional services contract for $265,560 to BergerABAM, a Federal Way-based firm, for creating a design and acquiring permits for the shoreline stabilization and road repair. Eight other consultants also applied for the contract. Construction will likely start in 2012.

The project will be funded at least in part by $900,000 in federal construction funds awarded by the Kitsap County Regional Coordinating Council and the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The affected area of road is between 800 feet south and 400 feet north of NE Old Creosote Road.

For more information on this project and to view the traffic plan, please visit the city’s website at http://bainbridgewa.gov. You may also contact Public Works Engineering at 842-2016.

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