City manager bids farewell after 20 years of service

Posted 7/3/19

The choice of cake — with frosting made up to look like a flannel shirt and denim jeans — and the choice of venue — Port Townsend Public Library — were a reflection of the man being honored by the city of Port Townsend June 27.

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City manager bids farewell after 20 years of service

Posted

The choice of cake — with frosting made up to look like a flannel shirt and denim jeans — and the choice of venue — Port Townsend Public Library — were a reflection of the man being honored by the city of Port Townsend June 27.

Outgoing City Manager David Timmons is so synonymous with his working wardrobe that, when he appeared wearing a suit in the slideshow of photos that played during his retirement party, those who knew him took the time to point it out.

And both Port Townsend Public Library Director Melody Sky Eisler and Mayor Deborah Stinson credited Timmons with helping to preserve the history of the 106-year-old library that hosted his official farewell.

Nora Mitchell, finance and administrative services director for the city, took up the mantle of interim city manager by continuing a tradition started by Timmons, as she presented him with a pen and a “plaque,” albeit printed on paper, a dig at Timmons’ stinginess.

City Council member Michelle Sandoval’s tribute mostly consisted of a list of city landmarks and streets he’d either helped bring about or improve, from the bell tower, the Cotton building, the skateboard park and City Hall, to Pope Marine Park and the Northwest Maritime Center.

“Water Street was hell for a while, but it was worth it,” said Sandoval, who also credited Timmons with going to bat for the Mountain View Commons and its pool “more than once,” as well as playing a role in the installation of roundabouts on various city streets.

And while Sandoval praised Timmons for the “hard lift” of helping to raise $4.5 million for Building 202 on Fort Worden State Park, she also noted the work he did on behalf of the recently passed fire annexation, as well as securing the city a human resources department.

“What an amazing concept,” Sandoval said, as she also thanked Timmons for helping to bring about “a readable budget” and live streaming of its public meetings.

With close to $1 million going to Habitat for Humanity during Timmons’ tenure, which also saw the introduction of 1% funding for the arts, Sandoval described Port Townsend as “very changed in many, many ways” since Timmons’ arrival.

“He’s helped create a community that respects the legacy of the past, while still feeling like a modern, welcoming city,” Sandoval said. “His own legacy is one we can appreciate every single day.”

Sandoval closed by fondly recalling her work with Timmons during “the worst of the recession,” and how much of Port Townsend’s modern prosperity stems from them “never letting a crisis go to waste.”

Timmons acknowledged the trouble he’s already had in implementing the advice of a former colleague of his, who advised him to have “a short goodbye.”

Timmons amplified a point made by Stinson, when the mayor thanked the outgoing city manager for leaving Port Townsend “in good hands” with the staff he’d helped assemble.

“Everything I did, I did in partnership with all of you,” Timmons told the attendees of his retirement party. “It was your ideas, put into print in the community plan. It was easy for me to look at that and translate how to deliver it.”

Timmons acknowledged investments such as $1 million for the Northwest Maritime Center were risks, but he met them with a spirit of, as he said, “Why not?”

“It was a risk, but look what happened,” Timmons said. “The future is bright, because while there are challenges ahead, you have people here with the strength to take you there. It’s been a pleasure to work with you all.”

Timmons pledged to stay in the community, but assured the public he would not grow “a retirement ponytail.”

In return, Stinson presented Timmons with a real wooden plaque, with all labor and materials donated by Edensaw Woods owner Kiwi Ferris, proclaiming him “the best city manager we’ve ever had” (until now, Timmons has been the only city manager Port Townsend has ever had).

Timmons’ chosen replacement, another “Kiwi”, (City of Auckland Sustainability Manager John Mauro) is mulling the City Council’s offer. His first day of work has not yet been announced.

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