ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – On Thursday, John Gaskin, president of the St. Louis County NAACP, held a news conference to announce his chapter was supporting the Better Together initiative to merge the city and county of St. Louis. During that same news conference, Gaskin disclosed that he’s working as a paid consultant for Unite STL, a campaign committee pushing for the merger.
On Friday, Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones called on Gaskin to resign.
“Mr. Gaskin should have revealed his conflict of interest to everyone prior to any vote by the board and have allowed public input,” he said. “We are demanding that Mr. John Gaskin III, resign from his position with the NAACP.”
Gaskin said members of the county NAACP knew about his new community outreach job with Unite STL and not one member of the has expressed a problem with his position and that what he is doing is not uncommon.
“Several c4 organizations work closely to get these ballot measures passed with various individuals in these organizations and not only as consultants but as well as staff members,” Gaskin said.
Gaskin said his volunteer role at the NAACP is one of looking out for the best interests of the African-American community. He wants Mayor Jones and anyone else condemning his efforts to join the NAACP.
“We can agree (and) disagree without being disagreeable,” Gaskin said. “I welcome all municipal leaders who disagree with our position on this to come to our next meeting and be involved in our organization.”
Gaskin said he’d recuse himself if there was ever a moment where he was in an unethical situation.
“Most people who have an issue with this position are elected officials and municipalities that are unfortunately viewing this as a loss rather than a gain,” he said.
Fox 2/KPLR 11 reached out to Dellwood Mayor Reggie Jones for comment but have not heard back as of Friday afternoon.