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School board removes Tony Moore as president amid legal troubles
In a 3-2 vote, with the deciding vote coming from the man himself, Tony Moore was removed as the president of the Federal Way School board during the board's Oct. 15 meeting.
The other two votes in favor of Moore's removal were Claire Wilson and Danny Peterson, with board members Ed Barney and Angela Griffin voting against Moore's removal. Wilson was voted in unanimously as the new president of the board.
Moore will remain an active member of the board. Moore said he felt that his ongoing legal troubles were likely to be a distraction to the district moving forward.
"Not to be a distraction, I choose to vote to resign," Moore said. "I really believe that the most important thing that happens in this district has to do with our kids. It's far more important than any one person. Your kids are the most important thing and the future of our country depends on it."
Moore is accused of scheming with a tire company employee in Portland, Ore., to steal more than $150,000 in semi-truck tires in 2011. A grand jury indicted Moore on Aug. 23.
Moore was arrested Sept. 17 at SeaTac Airport as he boarded a plane to Amsterdam on a trip sponsored by the school district. He was released from King County Jail on Sept. 20 after posting a $50,000 bond. Moore said he is innocent of the charges and will remain on the school board. Moore will go to trial in Oregon, and his next court appearance is Nov. 25.
Board member Danny Peterson originated the motion to have Moore step down as president.
"I would like to say that I am disappointed that we are here at this point and that a resignation has not been given yet," Peterson said. "It's clear that Director Moore's personal legal issues right now are a distraction to the great and important work going on in our district. It has eroded public trust…This vote is not whether or not he's innocent or guilty. The courts will decide that. Rather, this is an opportunity to begin to restore public confidence and trust in this board, and getting back to the focus on students and teachers and the great work that's ahead of us."
Griffin explained her reasons for not voting to remove Moore, saying she didn't think Moore needed to resign or be forced out.
"I don't agree that there needs to be a resignation from our president for this position. I believe it's a board decision as to whether or not Tony Moore should remain president," she said. "The public communication is happening so that as a board, the five of us can discuss and talk about whether or not there is any type of distraction or concern (over) the personal activities that are happening with Mr. Moore."
Barney said he believes Moore has always been able to keep his personal life separate from his work with the school board, and didn't feel Moore's legal issues are a distraction.
"I honestly do not feel there is a problem with Mr. Moore remaining as president. He has, over the years, been able to separate his personal life from the business of the board, and he has been a strong advocate for students and this district," Barney said. "And I believe that as he continues to pursue whatever it is, that he will be able to continue to keep his personal life and professional life separate."
Moore said he hadn't resigned at this point because he wanted the process to be transparent, and that a backroom resignation goes against his idea of open government.
"This conversation is difficult to have in public, but it's one that must be had in public," Moore said.
Newly minted board president Wilson thanked the board for their vote of confidence in her, and also gave a continued vote of support to Moore as the district moves forward.
"His experience and leadership, as Ed (Barney) had said in the district, is and still will be valuable to the work as we move forward," she said.