Bryan City Council members Mary Leatherman and Jim Kozumplik have resigned from their positions as board members of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce.
Leatherman resigned from the chamber board June 9 while Kozumplik resigned July 13. Both said they remain fully committed to continuing to serve on city council, but said they’ve resigned from the chamber board to avoid the appearance of impropriety as council works to implement the proposed Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA).
Both said they wanted to publicly announce their resignations from the chamber board to make it clear going forward that as council members they have no conflict of interest when they make decisions on the DORA.
Leatherman and Kozumplik said in making their decision, they received pro bono guidance from local attorneys and also sought guidance from the Ohio Ethics Commission.
“The ethics commission said there was no conflict of interest if we served on the chamber board and on council, but they advised us to pick one or the other to avoid the appearance of impropriety,” Leatherman told The Bryan Times during a recent interview with Kozumplik and Dan Yahraus, executive director of the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce.
“We wanted to publicly announce that we’ve resigned from the chamber board so the community knows and is fully aware of this,” Leatherman added.
Kozumplik had served on the chamber board since 2015 and Leatherman had served for the past 20 years, including serving as board president in 2018.
In addition to past chamber board service, both Kozumplik and Leatherman are also longtime chamber and community volunteers. Yahraus confirmed that both perform “hundreds of hours a year” of behind-the-scenes board service and community volunteer service.
Both Leatherman and Kozumplik said though they are not board members, they’ll remain available to help with chamber and community activities on a strictly volunteer basis.
Kozumplik, elected in 2019, is in the first year of his first four-year term on council, while Leatherman was elected to council in 2017 and is in the third year of her first term.
“I’m saddened that we’ve lost two board members. These are two people who are dedicated to our community, who serve on a number of boards and want to make this a better community. Even though they’ll continue to volunteer I’m going to miss having them be leaders on the chamber board,” Yahraus said.