At last week’s Montgomery County Commission work session, Chairman Elton Dean made some interesting comments that shed some light on county politics.
Edward Davis, vice chairman of the Montgomery County Board of Human Resources, submitted his resignation April 12. The nominating committee unanimously recommended Donnie Mims, the county administrator, replace Davis until September 2015, when his term is up. Terry Benton, the director of the county department of human resources, wrote a June 26 letter to Mims asking him to accept the nomination.
But during the July 9 work session, which is an open meeting before the formal session that gives commissioners a chance to discuss items on the agenda, Dean said he was against appointing Mims because he is white. He said the person who replaces Davis, a black man, should be black as well. When asked about it again a week later, Dean stood by his comments.
“We want to be equally represented. Mr. Davis had been a long-time member of the human resources board. He’s worked 25 years for the community,” Dean said. “When you replace somebody of that nature, you should try your best to go back with someone of that nature.”
Dean said there isn’t enough black representation on the seven-member board.
Three of the current members are white, and three are black.
After Dean voiced his concern, County Commissioner Reed Ingram suggested a black female that could be appointed.
Appointments for the Montgomery County Board of Human Resource are made jointly by the County Commission and City Council.
According to state statute, the purpose of county Boards of Human Resources (the Department of Human Resources is the state’s social service agency) is to appoint and advise a county director of human resources. The board is responsible for identifying areas of need and developing facilities for “human betterment.” The board members serve as ex-officio members of the county’s Quality Assurance Committee. They also serve on state Department of Human Resources committees and task forces.
Each appointee serves a six-year term, but isn’t limited by a certain number of terms. At least two women have to serve on the board at all times.
Benton said the board usually plays a supportive role when it comes to special projects related to child welfare programs, jobs and other public assistance programs.
“There’s an expectation that they’re familiar with the social service community, and humanitarian issues in the community,” Benton said. “I hope whoever they appoint will be a supporting member. It’s their decision.”