Boger says he's not stepping down

He also has no interest in being Washougal's mayor

By Tyler Graf, Columbian county government reporter

Published:

 
photoBrent Boger Washougal councilor, Vancouver employee

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Despite undergoing a spate of health scares in recent months, Washougal City Councilman Brent Boger says he has no intention of stepping down from his position anytime soon, but he also doesn't want to be mayor, either.

The first-term councilman, who's running unopposed in this year's election, suffers from high blood pressure.

On top of that, he underwent a biopsy Thursday for potential prostate cancer. The health problems have converged at a time when the 10-year resident of Washougal has come under fire for his support of Proposition 1, which would change the city's form of government to a city manager-run weak-mayor system. The city currently operates with a popularly elected mayor, Sean Guard, who acts as Washougal's top administrator.

Opponents of the proposition speculate that Boger, 56, supports it because he has his eyes on the mayor's position under the new form of government.

Marilyn Tyrell, the chairwoman of the ad hoc committee that opposes Proposition 1, said Boger has a tendency to overstep his position as a councilman.

"He has consistently, in my opinion, acted within the city council as a person of authority," Tyrell said. "He speaks up as if he were mayor."

She and other opponents of the proposition say Boger appears to want more power on the council.

Boger calls those statements bogus. "I'm not doing this to be mayor," he said.

The speculation has spurred Boger, an assistant Vancouver city attorney, to promise to step down from his council spot if he's ever slotted to be mayor.

And that could take awhile.

Passage of November's proposition would only be the first in a planned two-step process changing the city's form of government, the proposition's supporters say.

The second step would require voters to approve a separate proposition, likely in 2014, that would spell out how the mayor would be elected. That proposition would likely seek approval for the public to directly elect the mayor.

If both propositions pass, Boger said, he'd step down from his council seat in 2015. Boger said the health scares have put into perspective what's important in life.

Politically, he said, being mayor wouldn't even be an option.

As a high-profile Vancouver city employee, he'd feel uncomfortable "acting as (Mayor) Tim Leavitt's attorney in one setting, and sitting across from him in a C-Tran meeting in another."

"I can't be mayor until I retire from the city of Vancouver," he said.

"There are political reasons why I couldn't do it."