UI job keeping Danville alderman from city meetings

UI job keeping Danville alderman from city meetings

DANVILLE — An alderman who has not attended a city council meeting since August because of a work conflict says he doesn't plan to resign but will step down in the future if his job continues to be a conflict.

Kevin Davis was elected to his first four-year term as a Ward 1 aldermen in April 2011. But he has attended only 10 of 37 city council and council committee meetings from January 2012 to December 2012, according to Danville City Council minutes. The last meeting Davis attended was on Aug. 7, according to the minutes.

Davis said he was hired in August by the UI for a dining services job and works at the Ikenberry Dining Hall.

The Danville City Council and council committees meet at 6 p.m. Tuesdays, and Davis said his shifts at Ikenberry are 1:30 to 10 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays.

Davis said he informed the mayor in August that he had a new job that would conflict with the meetings but hoped the conflict might be resolved once his probationary period ends.

Davis said his last day of probation will be March 8, and then he hopes to put in a bid to have Tuesdays off. He said if he can't bid another slot, then he's going to resign as alderman.

Davis said that with his schedule, it's hard to do a lot of things, but he does still receive the city council emails and does take phone calls from constituents and tries to get issues resolved.

Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he has received calls, emails and comments in person from Ward 1 residents who are concerned that their interests are not being represented.

Les Brown, a former longtime Ward 1 alderman, said a work-related conflict is understandable, but if Davis continues to be unable to attend meetings due to his job, then he needs to step down as alderman and let the mayor appoint someone who can be there.

"But certainly, I think it's an injustice for someone to hold that position and not make the meetings. The reason we vote for our alderman is so we have a voice in city matters, and right now, if he's not fulfilling that obligation, he should consider stepping aside," Brown said. "It's not anything against him; it's just a process."

Brown said there have been situations in the past in which aldermen can no longer attend meetings. Brown said one alderman had health issues, so he stepped down, and the mayor at that time filled that position.

Longtime Ward 2 Aldermen Lois Cooper and Davis are both members of the city council's seven-member public services committee, which meets this week. Since late September, Cooper, 79, has also been unable to attend meetings because of serious health issues. Her four-year term is up in April, and she decided last year that she would not seek re-election.

Cooper said she has been in regular contact with the mayor, who has spoken with her doctor and is informed of the situation. She said she is still continuing to do her duties from home, taking phone calls, keeping abreast of city council business and reviewing council paperwork. She said that just last week, she found a small error in city budget paperwork that she was reviewing and called city employees to make them aware of it.

"I'm still doing my job; I'm just not at the meetings," she said.

Danville city aldermen are paid $225 a month, according to City Clerk Janet Myers. Aldermen receive that pay whether they attend meetings or not.

Rickey Williams Jr., the other Ward 1 alderman, has proposed in the last few years that the council move to a per-diem system in which they are paid if they attend meetings, but aldermen did not support the suggestion. The Vermilion County Board is paid on a per diem basis.