Another shake-up for the Erie County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission as the county executive removed more appointees.
The Erie County executive has removed Commissioner Adrienne Dixon in an effort that he said continues to eliminate any improprieties among the DEI commission, but the chief administrative officer for the commission felt that they have been doing everything correctly.
Brenton Davis, county executive, said he is continuing to create a clean slate among the DEI Commission as he removed another appointee. Davis added that there is a history of mishandling of funds throughout the county, and it was time to look at things through a new lens.
He said the removal of the appointees is due to a conflict of interest for the bylaws that created the commission.
“If those two individuals would’ve allocated money to five other organizations, to which they don’t belong, they would’ve been fine. However, for the three appointees, including Matt Harris being removed today as well, it is a direct conflict of interest under the very ordinance that created this commission specifically,” said Brenton Davis, Erie County executive.
The chief administrative officer said Diverse Erie consulted legal advice from their solicitor to follow steps in handling the situation as he said the conflict of interest raised concern for him.
“When we follow those three particular steps, based on the legal opinion from our solicitor, we were in compliance with the state ethics law,” Gary Lee, chief administrative officer, Diverse Erie.
Although they followed the bylaws when making their appointments, Lee said they want to ensure there is no perception of impropriety in their commission.
“I think that it’s really important that the commission continues to communicate with the county executive to make sure that we are in agreement on the mission, not only the mission but the vision for the commission to avoid these types of occurrences,” Lee added.
Davis said he will continue to withhold funds from the commission until all speculations of improprieties are cleared.