A former member of the Danville Ethics Board told the City Commission on Monday she wanted an apology for the handling of how her term ended earlier this month.
Linda Tillman said she was aware her three-year term was expiring soon but didn't find out until the morning after the June 11 City Commission meeting that she had been replaced by Tom Cummins during the meeting.
Tillman, who was serving as the committee’s co-chairwoman, told the commission she was concerned about the way the situation was handled.
“I’m very disappointed in the lack of communication in the matter,” said Tillman, whose term technically ended in April.
Mayor Bernie Hunstad said Monday he regretted the way the replacement was handled, sentiments he said he also relayed to Tillman during a phone conversation. He did not say why he appointed someone else. He said he apologized over the phone for the way it was communicated to her, and he reiterated that during the meeting.
The mayor typically brings forward nominees for the various city boards and committees, which are then approved by the City Commission. The ethics board ordinance does not direct the mayor or City Commission to ask if someone wants to continue serving another term.
According to the minutes of the previous meeting, after Commissioner Kevin Caudill inquired about whether Tillman asked not to serve another term, Commissioner Gail Louis said she didn’t think Tillman wanted to be reappointed.
J.H. Atkins, who decided not to vote on Cummins’ appointment during the June 11 meeting, expressed disappointment over the lack of females or minorities on the board after Tillman’s departure. He drew applause from the audience when he spoke about making the city’s various boards and committees more representative of the community as a whole.
By ordinance, the ethics board consists of five city residents who hold no elected or appointed position with the city and are judged to have a reputation of integrity and strong knowledge of city government. They must have resided in the city for one year prior to appointment to their three-year term and live in the city during their term.
Tillman was appointed in 2008 and served on the board during some high-profile cases, including ethics charges against former Mayor Hugh Coomer brought by City Commissioners Terry Crowley, Janet Hamner and Kevin Caudill in 2008.
The board publicly reprimanded Coomer for three of the 10 charges of taking actions without consulting the City Commission, including applying for grants on the city’s behalf and instructing the city engineer to ignore the commission’s instruction regarding demolition of a building at Cowan Street Park.
The ethics board found Hamner not guilty of violating the ethics code in 2010 after her company did interior decorating work on the new city hall building while she was a sitting commissioner, but urged the city to disclose quotes in the same manner it would bids when a city official is involved.
The ethics board is now made up of Cummins, Vaughn Frey, Paul Smiley, Jeff Trueblood and Tom Tye.