Park district director let go Monday

Jan Milligan, who was hired a year ago to helm the financially struggling Vashon Park District, was terminated on Monday.

The Beachcomber learned late Monday about the turn of events. Bill Ameling, who chairs the board of directors, said Monday night that the decision was made during an executive session of the board last week.

Milligan was told Monday morning of the board’s decision. Susan McCabe, the park district’s program director, has been asked to step in as the agency’s interim executive director. The staff was to learn of the decision at a meeting Tuesday morning.

Ameling declined to say what precipitated the five-member board’s decision, which he called a “consensus.”

“You don’t exactly vote. You just air your opinions,” he said. “There were five people, with five different feelings.”

Asked to state his own stance on Milligan and her role over the past year, Ameling said, “I don’t wish to share, because it’s a personal thing.”

LuAnn Branch, another commissioner reached late Monday, declined to comment, noting that the board decided only Ameling could speak to the press about the decision. The other three commissioners — David Hackett, Michael DeBlasi and Joe Wald — did not return telephone calls.

McCabe said she didn’t relish the position but would do her best to fulfill the demands of the job.

“I care about the park district. I care about the staff. And I care about the services we offer the community,” she said. “So I’ll do what I’m capable of doing until they can find someone capable of the job.”

Ameling said the board hopes to have a new director in place by Nov. 1. Milligan, he said, will be paid until the end of this month.

He said he didn’t believe the decision will affect the agency’s big fundraising event for the Vashon Fields, scheduled for Friday night.

“This fundraising is for people who’d like to see us work on that field. There are no personalities involved,” he said.

Milligan, 58, the former director of Camp Sealth, could not be reached for comment Monday.


The Vashon Park District's commissioners announced Tuesday, after The Beachcomber's deadline for its print edition, that it will hold a special public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at its offices at Ober Park. The purpose of the meeting, according to the notice, is "to ratify recent personnel changes."

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