BATTLE GROUND - As Battle Ground City Manager John Williams looks back over his past seven years on the job, he said he likes to focus on the opportunities given to him in the city and the things accomplished over the years by city staff and the city council.
“Getting the federal funding and completing the community center, that was a big one (accomplishment),” Williams said. “The funding and completion of North Parkway, and of course one that’s a big deal to a lot of citizens, the fact that we now, after 13 years of failed attempts, have been able to get the grant funding for South Parkway, with construction starting in 2016.”
At the end of October, Battle Ground Mayor Shane Bowman announced that Williams had provided the city with notice of his resignation as of Dec. 3. Williams recently accepted a position as city manager in Moses Lake. His last full day on the job will be Dec. 2, and an interim city manager will be appointed until council members can decide on a selection process.
Williams said he has personal and professional reasons for deciding to accept the job in Moses Lake, and he appreciates all the opportunities the city of Battle Ground has given him.
“I’ve been here (with the city) for eight and a half years and it’s not that I need to leave or want to leave,” Williams said. “There were just opportunities that presented themselves. It’s not a matter of I needed to leave or wanted to leave, it was an opportunity and I decided to roll with it. I also eventually want to retire in Eastern Washington.”
Williams, 53, grew up in Ellensburg through fifth grade and also worked for the city of Richland for more than 10 years. He also has family members in the area and his son is also currently attending Central Washington University.
“(This job presents) new opportunities and new challenges,” Williams said. “There’s stability there and the number of cities in Eastern Washington that have city managers are few and far between. There’s a lot of things in Moses Lake that can compare to Battle Ground as well.”
Williams cited several other accomplishments with the city of Battle Ground that he is proud of, including putting together the commercial corridor along Scotton Way and getting the funding for Scotton and building it out, the creation of the sewer coalition, Trail Tech coming to Battle Ground and the work that he said he and the mayor put in with the legislatures to finally get named in the state’s transportation package.
Although Williams said the city of Moses Lake has several similarities to Battle Ground, he said every community is unique and he will need to “get in there and get to know the people of the city.” He said the first part of his job will be to go in and observe and absorb as much as he can. Williams said Moses Lake is the largest city in Grant County and they are essentially the “service hub” of the area.
“I really want to thank the community, the citizens, and the councils and staff I’ve worked with,” Williams said. “I’m thankful for the opportunities I was given in the city of Battle Ground.”
Williams and his wife of 29 years, Michelle, have two children – a son and a daughter. He has been a finalist in two different city manager job searches in the past two years, one in Pasco and one in Longview. He has served as the city manager for the city of Battle Ground since 2009 and worked as the deputy city manager for two years before that.
A Farewell Reception will be held for Williams on Tue., Nov. 24, 4-6 p.m., at the Battle Ground Community Center, 912 E. Main St., Battle Ground. Community members are invited to join the city of Battle Ground in recognizing Williams and saying farewell.
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