The Dayton City Council, in a special meeting on Wednesday, May 26, made changes to the way that appointments are made to the Dayton Community Development Corporation (DCDC) board of directors. After two lengthy executive sessions, with a pause in between to hear and approve a report on the City’s most recent audit, Council returned and voted to put in place changes that will prevent councilmembers and their family members from serving on the DCDC board.
The change means that Councilmen Andy Conner and Alvin Burress, and Nan Headrick, the wife of Councilman John Headrick, will no longer be allowed to serve on the DCDC board as long as they or their family members hold positions on council. The restructuring is a preventative measure to avoid any potential conflicts, not the result of some wrongdoing.
After the second closed executive session, Council voted unanimously on a motion that was put forth by Councilwoman Sherial Lawson.
In making her motion, Lawson told Mayor Caroline Wadzeck, “Mayor, I move that in the interest of potential conflict that we remove councilmembers and relatives of the councilmembers from serving on the DCDC board.”
Lawson also suggested the appointments of Josh Day and Dr. Constance Onemany to the voting board for DCDC. Both previously served on the DCDC board in an advisory capacity.
The Council then approved the appointment of C.D. Williams as the new DCDC board president. The previous board president was former Councilman Wendell Null who voluntarily stepped down in recent months. Since that time, the DCDC board has been without a president.
These appointments to the DCDC board are not official until the DCDC board has an opportunity to meet and approve the recommendations. The remaining voting members are Tammy Pratka, Tonya Smikal and Dr. Luke Chachere. The board also has four ex-officio members – Theo Melancon as Dayton City Manager, Jessica Sims as director of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Jessica Johnson as superintendent of Dayton ISD and Leon Wilson as commissioner for Liberty County Pct. 4.
The audit report, which was presented by Robert Belt with Belt Harris Pechacek LLLP of Austin, Texas, showed that the City of Dayton is in a strong financial position despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which created quite a lot of uncertainty in 2020.
“The fact that you’ve weathered a very difficult storm and that’s the only reduction you’ve had in the fund balance, and still have a strong fund balance, that’s an excellent position to be in,” Belt said.