Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Commission Board Director Removed by Erie County Councilman
Erie County Executive has announced his decision to remove Gerald Blanks from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission's board of directors.
Davis claims Blanks violated the county's conflict of interest policy, when his organization the Greater Erie Economic Development Corporation received a $250,000 grant from the commission's first round for Generational Impact Grants.
"I'm unapologetic about that," said Davis. "At the end of the day, I will not stand for improprieties, even the perception of impropriety and self-dealing when it comes to taxpayer money."
On Friday, Erie County Councilman Charlie Bayle issued a letter, removing his appointment, Matt Harris, from the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Commission.
Harris' organization---Eastside Renaissance---also received a $250,000 grant.
Davis' request is not sitting well with Eastside Renaissance founder Bishop Dwayne Brock.
"What he is doing is flat out wrong," said Bishop Brock. "We have come a long way in building bridges and solving race relations within our communities. This seemingly narcissistic man seems to be destroying those bridges as we very speak."
By abstaining from the grant vote, Bishop Brock says both Blanks and Harris did nothing wrong.
"We have a fiduciary board of presidents of banks, serving that which we do," said Bishop Brock. "Brenton Davis is totally out of line, he's out of control, and somebody needs to stop him. Bottom line."
Davis is also asking the commission to freeze all spending.
However, according to Diverse Erie CEO Gary Lee, the board has followed all protocols.
"Not only did they not vote on any of the applications, they were not a part of the process, completely," said Lee. "We wanted to make sure that this process was transparent, fair, so that the citizens could have faith that we're doing the right thing when we are talking about building up our communities."
Davis hopes his request will set precedence for the board moving forward.
"Let this be a warning to any other individual that's out there on a board authority or commission," said Davis. "If you're going to play like this with taxpayer money, we're going to find it, we're going to root it out, we're going to expose it, and we're going to eliminate you."
As of now, it's unclear who will replace Harris and Blanks.
This story is supported by the Economic Hardship Reporting Project.