UPDATE | Bainbridge ethics board to hear complaint tonight against councilwoman

The Bainbridge Island Ethics Board will meet tonight to review a complaint against City Councilwoman Debbi Lester.

Tom Golan, a property owner who has been critical of the city's update of its Shoreline Master Program, filed a complaint against Lester March 12. He alleged Lester had "compromised on her voting for [Shoreline Master Program] updates" because she is married to  attorney Ryan Vancil.

Golan claimed Lester "is incapable of voting against the city of Bainbridge Island's planning department because of Ryan's prior legal work for the city and associated agencies on the island and the need to be in the planning dept's good graces to further his career."

In his complaint, Golan said Lester should recuse herself from voting.

Golan did not cite any specific sections of the city's Code of Ethics that Lester had allegedly violated, nor did he offer any other details about work her husband had done in the past on behalf of the city or other entities.

The city's work on updating its Shoreline Master Program has been highly controversial.

Some shoreline property owners have been worried that the city would continue to label their homes as "nonconforming" under the new rules, and have also raised concerns about buffers and other aspects of the regulations. Upset property owners marched on city hall last week to protest the city's work on its Shoreline Master Program, a state-mandated plan that restricts development at the water's edge in order to conserve and preserve critical shoreline resources.

The ethics board meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 18 at Waterfront Park Community Center.

Also on the agenda is the election of a new chairman, and the introduction of new City Manager Doug Schulze to the advisory group.

The board will also review a plan to distribute educational materials to committee and commission members.


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