A Democratic candidate for Allen County Council is asking one of her Republican opponents to step down as head of the Downtown Improvement District, saying his recent appointment has the appearance of “pay to play.”
Former County Commissioner Bill Brown was named interim DID president last week following the resignation of Rich Davis. But Gina Burgess, one of three Democratic at-large candidates who will challenge Brown and two other Republicans in November, said Brown's past use of campaign funds to support the DID “just looks bad. It reeks of politics. I don't think (Brown's) like that, but if he isn't he should step down. If he's the right person for the job, fine, but they should do a search.”
It was some DID board members' concern about the lack of a search for Davis' replacement, in fact, that caused the board to add “interim” to Brown's title last week. The board will now decide how to fill the position on a permanent basis, and has said Brown will be considered for the job.
Davis earned about $105,000 per year; Brown's salary is $78,500.
Brown called Burgess' accusations “ludicrous” and said he has no intention of stepping down.
Brown said donated $1,000 to the DID in 2009 and 2010 to help start the Buskerfest street festival and has also used campaign funds to support other groups, including the Boys and Girls Club, Urban League and others.
“I've supported the downtown my whole life,” he said.