Bon named Mercer Island’s permanent city manager

Bon had served as interim city manager since Julie Underwood left the position in 2019.

Mercer Island has named its new permanent city manager.

Jessi Bon, who has been serving as Mercer Island’s interim city manager for the last nine months, is now the permanent holder of the role as of the Feb. 18 city council meeting. Bon stepped into the role intermittently in June 2019 after having served as the city’s parks and recreation director since August 2018.

The motion appointing Bon to the position unanimously passed. Before the vote, all seven councilmembers commended Bon and expressed their gratitude.

“I just wanted to have a chance to express my appreciation to the soon-to-be city manager, not interim, for the work that she’s done to date, and to just say ow fortunate I feel that we are to be able to retain you, Jessi,” Councilmember Lisa Anderl said. “And I just wanted you to hear, and I wanted the public to hear, at least my vote, and I hope everybody else’s vote of confidence in the job that you’ve done up until now and the very full plate that we’ve given you for 2020.”

“I’ve been on the wrong side of some 6-1 votes lately, this will not be one of them,” Councilmember Craig Reynolds joked. “I just wanted to say thank you as well. I’ve been very impressed with your hard work, your communication skills, your passion, your commitment, your creativity, and just about everything else I can think of. I think you’re a great asset to the city and it will not be a hard decision.”

Mayor Benson Wong was also complimentary and optimistic.

“Even though I was sad to see City Manager Underwood leave, I am equally if not more excited about the prospect of you now being our permanent city manager,” Wong said. “I think we are in good hands and you’ve shown great leadership skills and I’m sure you will use those skills wisely and a lot in order to get us through 2020 and beyond. We’re all excited about finally getting rid of the ‘interim’ label.”

Bon thanked the council for their kind words and said they had somewhat made her, “speechless.”

“I’m humbled and honored to serve as your permanent city manager. We certainly have a full plate, we have for quite some time. It is great to see this council working so good together and the collaboration with the staff and myself is really, really appreciated. With that, I say thank you,” Bon said. “And to the community, thank you for your grace and your support. There’s still a learning curve. I haven’t been here that long, but I’m finding my way in the city of Mercer Island and this is a great place to live and it’s a wonderful place to work as well. So thank you very much.”

Bon has lived on the Island for 10 years with her husband Mike and their three daughters. She holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Seattle University and brings 20 years of local municipal government experience. She previously worked for the city of Sammamish as its deputy city manager and prior to that as its director of parks and recreation.

Bon said she sees the city as an organization with unlimited potential.

“This is an incredible opportunity and I am honored that the city council selected me to serve in the permanent role,” Bon said in a city news release. “I moved to Mercer Island 10 years ago and knew it was the place I would raise my family. It’s truly a gift to live and work here, and I value the shared connections.”