Change is the order of the day at Bloomington RDC as Griffin resigns to become deputy mayor

The president of Bloomington’s redevelopment commission, Don Griffin, delivered an expected announcement at the group’s regular Monday night meeting: “At this time, I’d like to tender my resignation from the RDC, folks!”

Screenshot of RDC president Don Griffin at the group’s March 15, 2021 meeting, which was conducted by Zoom video conference.

The announcement came early in the 15-minute meeting. So assistant city attorney Larry Allen checked to make sure Griffin would be presiding over the rest of the day’s agenda. Yes.

“It will be effective at the end of this meeting,” Griffin said. He added, “This will be my last meeting on the RDC, period.”

Griffin’s resignation was expected because his appointment as deputy mayor, succeeding Mick Renneisen, was announced by mayor John Hamilton’s office nearly two weeks ago, on March 4.

Renneisen announced his retirement effective April 23.

The mayor makes three out of the five appointments to the RDC, including the seat in which Griffin served. The other two spots are appointed by the city council.

On Monday, the one new item of business handled by the board was the fourth and final change order on a nearly $1-million multi-use path project along East Winslow Road and South Henderson Street. The change order amounted to an increase of $15,000 on the construction portion of the project, which was handled by Conexco, Inc.

The deputy mayor functions in Bloomington as a kind of chief-of-staff position, and it was not uncommon for Renneisen to represent the city administration at RDC meetings.

Griffin told his RDC colleagues about his assumption of the deputy mayor’s duties: “So I will be seeing you. I just will be seeing you in a different capacity.” Griffin added, “I don’t know what to say. But I’ve loved working with you guys!”

The other four members of the RDC are: Nick Kappas, Deborah Myerson, David Walters, and Cindy Kinnarney.

During small talk before Monday’s meeting started, Griffin said, “There is much to be proud of about this city.” He continued, “Yeah, we’ve got things that we need to work on, but…every city does, man. And Bloomington, it’s just, I want to be part of that.” Griffin added, “I want to be part of making it better.”

Bloomington’s corporation counsel Philippa Guthrie responded to a Square Beacon question about the city’s planned approach to avoiding potential or perceived conflicts of interest between the deputy mayor’s office and Griffin Realty Holdings, LLC, which is Griffin’s real estate firm. A week ago Guthrie said, “We are in the process of nailing down the specifics for managing these issues.”

The change order for the multi-use path construction project brought Conexco, Inc.’s total construction cost to $598,149.46. The total cost of the project increased to $906,649.46, which includes right-of-way acquisition and preliminary engineering. Construction was completed last year.

The itemization for Monday’s change order included: stone, backfill, nursery sod and pavement markings.

During Monday’s RDC meeting, Kappas scrutinized the four change orders for the project, which totaled about $70,000.

He wanted to know if the number and the amounts associated with the change orders were normal. Kappas said he was asking the question in the context of other future multi-use path construction.

Matt Smethurst, from the city’s engineering department, told Kappas that four change order was not “normal.” There were some other projects that the department was wrapping up that had no change orders, Smethurst said.

What made the Winslow/Henderson multi-use path different, he said, included factors like the timing of the design and the actual construction. The plans for the project were originally drawn up three or four years ago, Smethurst said. But the project was delayed a couple of years. And there were changes out on the street after the plans were drawn and before construction started, he said.

The multi-use path along Henderson Street as seen under construction in April 2020. The image is from the Pictometry module of Monroe County’s property lookup system.

One thought on “Change is the order of the day at Bloomington RDC as Griffin resigns to become deputy mayor

  1. Don’t forget there is one more member by statute of the RDC which is the member from MCCSC. Although non voting, still a member.

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