South Jacksonville trustees have appointed five members to serve on the commission to investigate an ethics complaint filed against the village over a month ago against Village President Gordon Jumper and two other village officials.
After a brief closed session during a South Jacksonville meeting on Thursday, trustees took the advice of newly hired legal counsel Jeff Wilday from Brown, Hay & Stephens. The decision was made for Jumper to recuse himself from the ethics commission selection process.
Once Jumper had left the board room, trustees proposed candidates they felt were qualified to best represent the village’s ethics commission. Seven candidates, including two trustees, were nominated.
The original plan from trustees was to only hire three members for the ethics commission, but after further discussion, the decision was made to expand the commission to five members.
Selected to serve on the ethics commission were trustee Stacey Pinkerton and village residents Harry Jennings, Dan Maddox, Jim Ringle and Les Stevens.
Trustee Mike Elliot stepped in as Mayor Pro Tem in Jumper’s absence and was confident with the job done by the trustees.
“The benefit of going with the five that we had was that everyone had a broad representation. I think that there is a nice cross section of individuals there that will do a good job,” says Elliot.
Pinkerton, who took over the role of trustee two weeks ago, says she will serve as the chairperson of the ethics commission. She hopes the members can work together to “make sure justice is served” and “get this done and over with.”
Pinkerton felt expanding the commission to five members could lead to future problems.
“I do think it is too many, because you are going to get too many people in there at one time. They will be butting heads and I just think it is going to be too much confusion. I think three was plenty. I wanted two board members and one person in the community,” says Pinkerton.
Trustee Kem Wilson hoped to be a member of the ethics commission, but was willing to compromise and allow Pinkerton to serve as the only trustee.
“I’m pretty happy with the ethics commission. The goals absolutely have to be to follow all the protocol, to listen to our new attorney that we just hired from Springfield and to follow through with this ethics commission and complaint,” says Wilson.
Pinkerton hopes to bring the commission together sometime next week.
Other interesting items during the village meeting included a close vote to approve contracts for the Concert in the Cornfield and claims of nepotism against Jumper by South Jacksonville residents.
Stay tuned for more on those stories coming up this afternoon.