In two local village elections in Columbia yesterday, one embattled incumbent went down in defeat and another easily beat his opponent in races for seats on the Columbia Council.
Henry F. "Hank" Dagenais, a retired Army colonel, overwhelmingly defeated incumbent David Hlass in the race for the Long Reach representative to the Columbia Council, winning 448 votes to 140 votes.
In the Dorsey's Search election, incumbent Tom O'Connor won over Robert Ballinger, 141 to 22. The contest was the first time the 53-year-old O'Connor has faced a challenger, leading the independent sales representative to an active door-to-door campaign seeking re-election.
Hlass, 50, was banned from Long Reach Village Center by the shopping center's management last year after being accused of harassing employees. Hlass has denied the allegations, claiming the ban was retaliation for his trying to make the company attend to tenants' concerns.
Dagenais, who headed a village board for nearly five years, promised Long Reach residents he would deal with public issues in an "amicable" style on the Columbia Council.