Jeck should take honorable action

Jeck should take honorable action
It has become clear this week that it is time for City Alderman Roger Jeck to do the honorable thing.

It's time for him to resign from the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Development Company's board of directors.

At present, Jeck and City Manager John Prescott represent the city on the board.


We believe Prescott, with his background in public administration combined with his concerted effort to not grind a political axe in Vermillion, can do more than an ample job of serving the city on the VCDC board.

The same can't be said of Jeck. His service to the VCDC has been riddled with problems for most of his tenure on that organization's board.

It's become common knowledge in the Vermillion community that his attendance rate at VCDC meetings had grown so poor in recent months that he, himself, placed his board membership in jeopardy.

He suddenly gained much more interest in the operations of the organization since last November when embezzlement of funds and the resulting financial problems, investigations and human resource issues had to be tackled by the VCDC board.

It's been reported that his attendance at board meetings since November has been perfect.

His role as a team player and consensus builder on the board can hardly be described with that term.

Jeck keeps stating that he only wants to do what's best for the future of Vermillion. His methods, however, have been much more harmful than productive.

In late November, he tried to convince fellow members of the Vermillion City Council to withhold a routine payment to the VCDC – one that they approved during budget time last fall.

His latest blow to the VCDC surfaced this week, when he corresponded with Mayor Dan Christopherson, requesting that a speaker from the Government Research Bureau address the city council at its noon special meeting on Feb. 4 about the possibility of splitting the VCDC into two organizations.

Jeck's rogue-like approach in lining up speakers to address the city council about the future of the VCDC took its board and his fellow members of the city council by surprise.

It's the main reason executive members of the VCDC wanted to meet with the Vermillion City Council Jan. 28. The only people who knew what was coming at the beginning of that meeting were Jeck and the mayor.

It's sad when the VCDC board has to practice damage control because of the actions of one its own members.

The membership of the VCDC includes some of the top administrators and business leaders in our community. They struggle with budgets. They struggle with payroll. They work hard to attract productive employees.

And, no doubt, when faced with poor performance or behaviors that are so disruptive that it's clear that future goals are being jeopardized, they must take the painful step of terminating employees.

We hope, despite the blind support Jeck seems to be receiving from Christopherson, who appointed him to the VCDC board rather than serve on it himself as past mayors have, that Jeck will realize he no longer can be a productive part of the organization's future.

Should he refuse to step down from the board, we hope the board has the power to dismiss him. There are abundant grounds to defend such action: Jeck's chronic absence problems, his unprofessional and inappropriate conduct, his insubordination to the VCDC leadership and the damage he is causing to not only the VCDC but the future economic development of Vermillion.

Should Jeck refuse to resign, and should the VCDC board discover it doesn't have the ability to remove him, the focus needs to shift to the city council.

When controversial issues arise, our mayor and aldermen have demonstrated that they'd rather run away than face them.

It's time to make tough decisions. It's time for Jeck to step down.

If he doesn't, it's time for the VCDC or the city council to terminate his service on the board.

The Vermillion Plain Talk editorials reflect the opinion of Plain Talk editor David Lias. You may contact him at david.lias@plaintalk.net

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