South Jacksonville Trustees discuss the hiring of an employee with familial ties to the Village Mayor

By Gary Scott on January 5, 2018 at 6:54am

Personnel issues and questions about possible nepotism were the focus of discussions at last night’s South Jacksonville Board meeting, despite no action being taken.

The night began with reports from the village clerk, treasurer, and the village president before moving to committee reports. Committee reports began with a move into closed session to discuss a personnel issue before moving onto reports from the committees on public protection, finance, tourism, and Concert in the Cornfield.

The personnel issue that required a closed session was in regards to the hiring of Bill Davis several weeks ago to the position of Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector. Davis is the step father of current South Jacksonville Village President Harry Jennings, and Jennings neglected to inform the board of his relationship with Davis.

According to Trustee Dick Samples, Jennings was asked to not take part in last night’s closed session. When speaking with Jennings himself, he says he didn’t want to affect the process in any way, so he simply removed himself.

“I can’t talk about what happened in closed session, but yeah, there was an individual that was related to me that was hired. I didn’t want that person to have any different treatment either for or against, so I’ve removed myself from that hiring process completely,” says Jennings,

Trustee Dick Samples was one of the first members of the board to speak out about the hiring of Davis and the initially undisclosed details regarding the relationship between Davis and Jennings. Samples shares his feelings on Jennings’ decision to keep the details of his relationship with Davis unknown until now.

“I feel like we were mislead by the President and we should not have been. We should have been fully informed as to who this individual was and the relationship of what he was to the Mayor,” Samples says.

No action was taken at last night’s meeting.