116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Days after a contentious meeting in which one chair resigned and another was ousted, a member of Iowa City's Truth and Reconciliation Commission has resigned.
'This gives me great sorrow,' said now-former commissioner Anthony Currin in his March 7 resignation letter, first reported by the Iowa City Press-Citizen. 'Because I do not take lightly the full faith and confidence that has been placed in me by such accomplished and esteemed citizens of Iowa City who serve on our City Council. However, after deep soul searching and careful review of the events which transpired during last Thursday's meeting … I can no longer honorably continue to serve out my appointed Commission on Iowa City's TRC.'
Joining Currin in leaving the commission is Jesse Case, who was hired last week to serve as the group's facilitator. Case resigned March 5.
'I cannot in good conscience sign the contract to accept the position,' Case wrote.
The departures come on the heels of a March 4 meeting in which commission chair Royceann Porter resigned from her leadership role — though not the board — before facing a vote of no confidence related to comments she made in a City Council meeting and to a member of the public who voiced dissatisfaction over how an earlier meeting was run. Board members and city leaders have acknowledged the board's 'growing pains' in its first few months of existence.
'This commission got off to a very rocky start,' Case said last week. 'There are a lot of people who feel very disrespected.'
The commission, formed by the Iowa City Council in response to demands from Black Lives Matter protesters, is to hear evidence of discrimination and racial injustice; and provide opportunities for those impacted to share their stories and express their truths through art, theater and other avenues.
It is to facilitate conversations between the minority and white communities, create a model for enabling the conversations throughout the community and identity policy reforms, social practices and other means of creating better social harmony that will be recommended to the Iowa City Council.
Following Porter's resignation, commission vice chair T'Shailyn Harrington — who ran most of the meeting — briefly assumed the role of chair. Though commission members noted the smoothness of the meeting under Harrington, she was removed from her leadership position by a 6-3 vote. Currin voted against Harrington's removal.
Currin notes the events of the March 4 meeting in his resignation letter and said the commission is operating without a clear set of rules.
'We, as a governing body, had been designed WITHOUT rules for governance,' Currin wrote. 'This flaw, albeit, a mere oversight, shall be detrimental, the longer the Commission is permitted to operate.'
Currin, in voicing support for Porter, called for a 'full shutdown and reboot' of the commission in order for it to function properly. He urged the City Council to take 'immediate action, if the TRC is to survive.'
Comments: (319) 339-3155; firstname.lastname@example.org