Alderman steps down to become DACC trustee

Alderman steps down to become DACC trustee

DANVILLE — A Danville alderman has resigned his position on the city council to take a seat on the Danville Area Community College board of trustees.

Bill Black took his new seat at a special meeting on Friday afternoon, immediately after trustees unanimously approved his appointment and Chairman Dave Harby administered the oath of office.

"There won't be much of a learning curve with him," Harby said of Black, who has a long history with the college as an alumnus, a former instructor, administrator and state representative who helped secure millions in state funding for the college.

Black filled the seat of trustee and former Chairwoman Vickie Miller, who stepped down on July 1 after 22 years on the board for personal reasons. Her six-year term expires in April, and Black said he will probably run to retain the seat in the spring election.

A couple of weeks ago, the board was set to appoint Amy Hoose, the area sales manager for Trillium Staffing Solutions, to the seat. However, she withdrew her name due to a conflict of interest.

Hoose's firm provides services to DACC, and board members and companies that they represent can't benefit from doing business with the college.

Earlier this week, Harby said Black was a strong and obvious choice all along because of his knowledge of the college and district.

The Danville native said he's thrilled to be returning to the campus where he took a course, his wife and daughter received part of their education and he worked for a decade.

"I've always been an unabashed supporter of the community college system and of DACC. They've done amazing things here," Black said, adding it always had a strong transfer program.

When Vermilion County started losing many of its major manufacturers, he said the college immediately responded by launching retraining programs to get displaced workers back into the workforce. It has continued to adapt its programs to meet the changing needs, he added.

"It's always been on the cutting edge, and I'm excited to be a part of that," he said.

Black has a long and distinguished career in public service. A former Vermilion County Board chairman, he was appointed in 1986 to fill a vacancy in the Illinois House, when Harry "Babe" Woodyard moved to the senate. He was later elected to the seat and served nearly 24 years.

During his tenure in the General Assembly, DACC officials said he secured millions in funding to help the college modernize and expand infrastructure, including $5.2 million that allowed for a much-needed addition to the Mary Miller Complex that was named in his honor in 2012. The William B. Black Health Professions Center houses nursing, radiologic technology, sonography and echocardiography programs.

Black was elected as a Danville Ward 7 alderman in 2011, following his retirement from state office. He said he could hold both the city and DACC seats, but made the tough decision to resign from the council to avoid any potential problems.

"I don't need the distraction," he said, adding that would get in the way of work.

Black and his wife, Sharon, have two grown children and six grandchildren.

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