Park District appoints a new commissioner to fill Collins’ term

Vashon Park District’s board of commissioners recently appointed a new commissioner. At the board’s Tuesday, Nov. 9, meeting, three members unanimously chose Michael DeBlasi to fill the position vacated by Mike Collins, who chaired the board and resigned this month.

DeBlasi, a technology manager, brings to the park district five years of experience on the board of the Cascade Bike Club, including one year as board president of the 13,000-member bicycle advocacy group.

On Vashon, he has volunteered with the Boy Scouts, the PTSA and the Burton Adventure Recreation Center, and has coached youth baseball and basketball for eight years.

As a father of two middle-school boys involved in sports, DeBlasi said he felt serving on the board would be a way to give back to the park district as well as the Vashon community.

“Serving on the board is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and this was good timing and a good opportunity. ... When I first heard about the opening, I had a really good feeling for it right away,” he said.

The board chose from among three candidates — DeBlasi, Jonathan Childers and Alicia Carter to fill the open position. Commissioner LuAnn Branch said that while the decision to appoint DeBlasi was unanimous, it was not an easy one to make.

“We had a lot of strong candidates this time,” she said. “When we got together for discussion, we really felt torn between a lot of competencies that each candidate brought.”

Branch said that DeBlasi rose to the top because of his previous board experience and his ability to think strategically about issues. She believes he will be an asset as the park board continues to wrestle with how to cut about 10 percent from the district’s 2011 budget.

DeBlasi said that while he believes serving on the park board will be a challenge, he is excited for the opportunity.

“Being able to contribute and get the budget and the finances together to keep these (programs) going, it’s going to be challenging, but I’m happy to be a part of it,” he said.

Comissioner Joe Wald, vice chair before Collins resigned, now chairs the board.

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