Roger Jeck is still on VCDC board – for now

Roger Jeck is still on VCDC board – for now
A last minute addition to Tuesday night's Vermillion City Council meeting gave two aldermen a chance to sing Councilman Roger Jeck's praises.

It also allowed Jeck to attack a fellow member of the board who is critical of Jeck's conduct as a city representative on the Vermillion Chamber of Commerce and Devel- opment Company board of directors.

"I really feel that Roger has been misquoted, and his intentions have been misled,"

said Alderman Jere Chapman.

Shortly before the Tuesday's meeting began, Chapman asked to have the discussion of Jeck's appointment to the VCDC board added to the meeting agenda.

Mayor Dan Christopherson approved the request.

"It's come to my attention that Roger has been asked to resign from this board by its executive members and I would just like to remind the council that he is an appointed member voted on and approved by ourselves," Chapman said.

"Unilaterally, that is a good move for the Chamber," he said. "Evidently he has created some waves there that aren't going so well, but I also believe that he is our ears and our eyes there and should be in a position to question what's going on there without paying a penalty for it."

At one time Chapman was the city's representative on the VCDC board.

"I had a very similar experience with that same board about 18 months ago when I simply asked a question if after five years do you think you should do a review to see if the merger of the Chamber and the development corporation is doing everything you think that should be done," he said. "By the executive board at the time, I got labeled … quite a few labels, and I'll just leave it at that.

"I think what Roger was trying to accomplish was, during this time of turmoil and change, if we were ever going to look at different options, now is the time to be doing that," Chapman said.

Alderman Kevin Annis also showed support for Jeck.

"My comment to Roger would be to not go along with their wishes," he said. "You have to have people that question what's going on, and it did seem like a perfect time to do that.

"We're making some changes, we're hiring a new person. Let's not hire somebody and find out that, well, we should have done something different," Annis said. "I would urge Roger to disregard their requests and I show my support for our current representative."

"I agree that Roger was our selection for the VCDC board, but after hearing Nikki Peters and some of the other officers – the people who are involved with the VCDC on the board – and if they no longer have faith or trust in our representative," Alderman Mary Edelen said, "maybe we need to take a look at making a change.

"Whatever comes up before the board from now on," she said, "if Roger continues to be sitting there, they're not going to be fully honest, because I don't believe they trust you, Roger. I really fear that they aren't going to be open. They may end up having sessions where we aren't included, where one of our representatives is not going to be involved in that board, and they are going to be doing some very important things, including hiring an executive director."

The VCDC board, Edelen said, has to have full faith and support in their members.

"If they don't support our designee, then maybe we really need to look at that person and make a change," she said.

City Attorney Jim McCulloch explained that Christopherson made Jeck's appointment to the VCDC board. His term will be up when his term as an alderman ends. Jeck will be up for election in June.

McCulloch said he is assumes the VCDC has internal procedures it can use to "do whatever action they want to do. I don't believe the city council would have any control over their situation, same way that they don't have any control over who the city council decides to appoint to their board."

McCulloch said if the VCDC recommends a change in the city representative, the item could be placed on a city council meeting agenda. However, if aldermen decided to take to action, the status quo would continue.

"What happens if we take no action and the VCDC board feels very strongly that they no longer want one our members?" Edelen asked. "Do they have the authority to take off our appointee?"

"Yes, I believe they do," McCulloch said. He added that there would then be a vacancy on the board that would need to be filled by another appointee from the city.

"I was content to handle this on my own until Jere mentioned the possibility of this earlier today, and I thought 'why not?'" Jeck said. "I appreciate your words of support, Jere and Kevin, and this is about the third time you've scolded me, Mary, and I'm getting awfully disappointed in this pattern.

"You don't bother to call me ahead of time and talk to me about this stuff, and whatever this back door maneuvering you have going on … it's a small town and we'd all like to be going toward the same goal, and I don't see how you can read into anything I've done at the development company as some kind of grab for power. I don't know what it is that you think that I'm not doing well up there, but I guess I just don't appreciate being insulted by you."

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