Oak Harbor brings on interim city administrator

Oak Harbor executive services manager Sabrina Combs is filling in as interim city administrator.

Oak Harbor executive services manager Sabrina Combs is filling in as interim city administrator after Blaine Oborn was terminated from the position last month.

Combs will now be responsible for managing the administration office, development services, parks and recreation and public works, while finance, accounting and utility billing continue to report to Deputy City Administrator David Goldman. Fire, police and human resources will continue to report to the mayor.

“I am excited to work with Sabrina because she has a passion for our staff and this community,” Mayor Ronnie Wright said in a March 21 press release. “She understands the direction I want to take our city and has a holistic view of how to achieve the goals I have for Oak Harbor.”

Combs grew up in Bothell, moving to Northern California for high school and Southern California to pursue her bachelor’s degree in business management. She first worked for DIRECTV before leaping back to Bothell and working on State Rep. John Lovick’s campaign. Eventually, she spent 12 years working in Bothell’s public works and city manager offices. During this time, she received her master’s degree in strategic communications from Washington State University.

In 2020, Combs left Bothell for Oak Harbor, becoming the public information officer and implementing COVID-19 pandemic response recommendations for both Island County Public Health and the city. In 2023, then-Mayor Bob Severns promoted Combs to executive services administrator.

Combs appreciates the new opportunity Wright has given her and looks forward to working toward the city’s goals, she said in the press release.

The change is part of an initiative for more positive leadership, Wright said at the Feb. 28 workshop.

“Leadership starts from the top down,” he said. “We are all responsible to the city and our constituents. The work we do creates long term impacts to this community.”

Change is hard and these decisions are difficult, Wright said, but it is necessary for the growth of the team and the community.

“When I ran for mayor, part of my reason for running was because I wanted the community to see how great the city staff is and the number of projects all of you are working on,” he said. “When I am making decisions for the city, I am considering all the factors with you and the community in mind.”

Wright mentioned he has an “open door policy,” though staff should contact his executive assistant with any questions.

Combs declined to provide her salary information, even though it is public information. Oborn was hired in 2018 at a salary of $150,000 a year plus benefits.