Ethics complaint filed against Councilwoman Lester

A Bainbridge Island resident has filed an ethics complaint against Councilwoman Debbi Lester over an alleged conflict of interest.

Islander Tom Golan filed his complaint on March 12. In it he argues that Lester is "compromised on her voting for [Shoreline Master Program] updates" because of her marriage to attorney Ryan Vancil.

The city council is currently considering a draft update of the Bainbridge Island Shoreline Master Program including changes that have drawn considerable criticism from many of the island's shoreline homeowners.

The shoreliners — including Golan, who has been outspoken against the program — have protested buffer requirements and the use of the term "nonconforming" to describe their houses.

The update to the program has been underway for nearly three years and was reviewed by the city's planning commission before it was taken up by the council.

According to Golan's complaint, Lester's husband has previously worked for the city's planning department and other island agencies. Golan said Lester can not vote against the planning department's wishes, or she'll risk future work for her husband.

Golan states that Vancil needs "to be in the planning department's good graces to further his career. She should recuse herself from such voting."


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