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Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams named finalist for city manager job in Washington state



Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams is a finalist for a city manager job in Washington state.

The city council in Bainbridge Island, Washington selected Williams as one of four finalists. One of those, who was also from Texas, dropped out after being hired as a city manager elsewhere.

“I love Abilene. Its my hometown,” said Williams who is in Florida for the birth of his first grandchild, Lester Charles Bean, III (“Trey”). “It would take something extraordinary for me to leave Abilene.”

The mayor said he was approached in late August by Strategic Government Resources — a search firm the City of Abilene has used to help fill multiple positions.

He said he applied in September, while running for re-election.

Williams said he’s had one phone call — which lasted 45 minutes — with the City of Bainbridge Island leadership.

“I answered the phone call because I owe it to my family,” said Williams. “My family, the last 30 years, has sacrificed a great deal.”

Four finalists were selected from a pool of 66 applicants.

The other two remaining finalists are:

  • Keith Campbell, who is the City Manager of Stayton, Oregon and has served in this role since 2014. He has 14 years of local government experience. He previously served as the City Clerk for the City of Shawnee, Kansas from 2010 to 2014 and the Deputy County Clerk of Douglas County, Kansas from 2006 to 2010. He holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Kansas and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in psychology from the University of Kansas.
  • Blair King, who is the City Manager of Coronado, California and has served in this role since 2010. He has 36 years of local government experience, which includes 25 years as a City Manager at cities throughout California. Blair holds a Master of Public Administration and bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno.

Williams and the other two finalists will participate in a series of virtual interviews with city staff, community partners and advisory group representatives next week.

The Council plans to make a final selection in January.

Williams has served on the Abilene City Council for 20 years.

If he’s hired by the City of Bainbridge, Williams said a special election would be held to fill his position.

Mayor Pro Tem Shane Price would serve until the election is held.

Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said they are talking to legal to help determine when that might be if necessary.

Hanna said they would have an answer next week.

Bainbridge Island has a population of ore than 25,000. It’s located in the Puget Sound and is connected to Seattle by ferry.

“The effort to hire a new City Manager will undoubtedly be some of the most important work that Council does for, hopefully, many years to come,” Mayor Leslie Schneider said. “This moment provides our City the opportunity to find a partner to lead our community on new priorities, such as climate change and race equity. We will do everything in our power to ‘get this right.’”

Williams would replace Morgan Smith, whose contract expires at the end of the year.

Smith was hired in 2010 as Deputy City Manager and promoted to City Manager in 2018.

“I extend immense gratitude to City Manager Morgan Smith, who stepped in as a seasoned professional with a love for our island and the COBI staff, and offered us two years of transition. As we deal with the COVID crisis, we are in much better shape than many other cities due to her leadership on disciplined spending and responsible preparations for such emergencies,” Schneider said.