A second member of the Danville Ethics Board has stepped down in less than a week, but Paul Smiley said his departure is not directly related to fellow member Jeff Trueblood’s resignation over the body’s lack of diversity.
Smiley, who is running for a seat on the City Commission, tendered his letter of resignation Tuesday to City Clerk Donna Peek. The end of Smiley’s term in November coincides with the election, but he thinks it would be inappropriate for him to sit in judgment over the next several months of anyone he may be running against or employees he may be asked to work with if he is elected.
Smiley said he would not have sought reappointment to the board regardless of the election’s outcome because he also would not want decisions made about opponents in the race called into question in the future.
The resignation comes on the heels of Linda Tillman’s replacement on the ethics board after her term ended. Tillman, who was the board’s lone female and African-American member, asked for an apology last week, saying she was never contacted about whether she wished to serve another term. She said she found out she had been replaced during a phone call from a third party.
Danville Mayor Bernie Hunstad appointed Tom Cummins to the seat previously held by Tillman, whose three-year term expired in April. With Cummins’ appointment, the ethics board was made up of only white males, which drew criticism from community members and some on the City Commission.
In Tillman’s case, Hunstad said he was attempting to fill a spot on the board vacant since April and didn’t act with replacing Tillman in mind. He said Thursday his choices for other boards and committees have included women and minorities, but he is sensitive to the need for more representative city organizations.
Although Smiley’s resignation was not directly related to the circumstances of Tillman’s departure and subsequent controversy over the lack of diversity on the board, Smiley said making the body more reflective of the community is important to him. He said he made his decision Tuesday without knowledge of Trueblood’s resignation.
“I did feel there would be an added benefit of opening it up to another member who could make the board more reflective and help give some balance to the makeup of the board,” Smiley said.
Trueblood resigned Tuesday because the board included no minorities or women. He had hoped Tillman would be re-appointed to the board but asked the mayor to keep the community’s diversity in mind whomever he chose.
Hunstad said James Hunn, who is African-American, has agreed to fill Trueblood’s seat. Hunstad also said he has approached a nominee who is female and a minority about Smiley’s spot but declined to say who it is until it is certain she will be able to take the position. The nominations should be up for a vote by the City Commission at its Monday meeting.
The remaining members of the ethics board are Cummins, Vaughn Frey and Tom Tye.