Blaine City Manager Michael Jones resigns

By Grace McCarthy

City Manager Michael Jones resigned June 1 after 15 years with the city of Blaine, including nearly four as city manager. Jones will begin a county administrator position for Island County, which includes Whidbey and Camano Islands.

“It has been an honor to serve as City Manager and Director of Community Development for the Town of Blaine,” Jones wrote in his departure announcement. “While I’m sad to be leaving this team of employees, I’m excited for the opportunity with Island County.”

In 2007, Jones started as the city’s permit manager before becoming director of community development. He served as interim city manager when former manager David Wilbrecht retired and was appointed city manager in September 2018.

Jones’ letter of resignation marked the sale of the city’s Gateway property, the development of East Blaine and leading the city through the pandemic and the closure of the Canada-US border as his greatest accomplishments. as a director.

Jones studied hotel management in college and worked at resorts across the country before his civic career, according to a previous article in The Northern Light. Jones earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in Geography and Environmental Resource Management in 1998. He worked as a GIS analyst and environmental analyst in California before working as a senior planner for the city of Ferndale.

“Growing up, I started to realize that I really enjoy being involved in creating places and contributing to the world around me,” Jones said. “It’s the idea of ​​making a difference in people’s lives and in the places we live.”

Blaine Mayor Mary Lou Steward thanked Jones for her work in the city.

“Michael Jones has been a very, very dedicated City Manager and has done a lot for the City of Blaine,” Steward said. “We wish him all the best in his new position and he will be greatly missed by City.”

Steward said the city will likely hire an interim city manager and then start looking for a permanent manager. She expects the board to hold a special meeting very soon to determine next steps. Blaine City Council is expected to conduct a nationwide search for the next city manager, according to the announcement.

Jones’ last day as city manager will be June 30, as per his contract.

Jones said he was approached by a recruiter about the position in Island County and it appealed to him because he had the opportunity to learn new things in a job similar to his current role.

“Blaine is a wonderful community and I feel honored to have worked in the community for 15 years and shaped its future,” he said. “I’m really confident in the ability of City staff to help the City and City Council through this transition. I feel like I’m leaving the organization in good hands.