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Council bylaw change ousts Bangasser, others from board

Tom Bangasser, shown here at a previous community council meeting, was removed from the council board after a bylaw change Monday night. - File Photo
Tom Bangasser, shown here at a previous community council meeting, was removed from the council board after a bylaw change Monday night.
— image credit: File Photo

The Vashon-Maury Island Community Council voted Monday night to reduce the size of its board, forcing three members — including controversial board member Tom Bangasser — to step down.

By a 19-5 vote, the council approved an amendment to a proposed bylaw change reducing the board from nine members to five and limiting it to only those board members who currently hold offices.

 The result was that the three at-large members — Bangasser, AnnaLisa LaFayette and Frederick Woodruff — no longer had seats on the board. A ninth position, previously held by John Staczek, was unfilled. The bylaw change — proposed by former board member Kyle Cruver — was effective immediately.

Tim Johnson, president of the board, and Cruver both said a leaner board will make the council more effective and efficient. Nine positions have sometimes proven difficult to fill, they noted. 

But both acknowledged that frustration with Bangasser, a commercial real estate developer and landlord, was also behind the move.

“The entire public records battle ... obviously has made the air toxic,” Johnson said, referring to Bangasser’s ongoing push to get records from former council board members.

“Tom’s certainly been a polarizing figure,” added Cruver.

A previous effort to oust Bangasser failed in March, when he survived a motion calling for his resignation.

The motion, which required a two-thirds majority, failed by nine votes.

Bangasser, reached Tuesday morning, said he opposed the motion but was not upset about the outcome. "Heck, I was probably the most delighted at the meeting," he said. 

His removal from the board, he said, will not limit his involvement in the community council, which is driven largely by members and those who serve on the council's handful of active committees. 

"I've never shirked ... doing the work. I'm going to continue doing it," he said.

Asked how he felt about the fact that the motion was in part an effort to force him off the board, he called it a political move that didn't trouble him. "It's like playing a game of soccer and the coach takes you out," he said.

According to Johnson, both LaFayette and Woodruff were already considering stepping down.

LaFayette, owner of the retail shop Good Merchandise, couldn't be reached for the comment. Woodruff, an astrologer, said he had been considering stepping down anyway and welcomed the development.

"I found myself just exhausted from all the drama," he said, explaining why he was about to resign. "I've done public work in every city I've lived in — and I've never encountered anything as complicated and cutthroat as the local scene here."

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