Larson, Chalk to remain on commission
La PORTE — Two redevelopment commission members were re-appointed by the La Porte City Council during this Monday’s meeting.
Commission members Tim Larson and Brian Chalk were voted by the council to retain their positions within the Redevelopment Commission. The two were the only contenders for their respective positions, as no other candidates were mentioned or considered during the meeting.
Before the council called for a vote to re-elect both Larson and Chalik, Councilman Tim Stabosz expressed his apprehension in electing Larson to the commission due to a possible conflict of interest.
Larson works as the president of a construction company called Larson-Danielson. The company has constructed buildings all over Northwest Indiana and beyond, including buildings for Indiana Beverage, Team Toyota in Schererville and Valparaiso University’s new research facility.
Larson-Danielson has worked on several projects around La Porte, including the Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and the Beechwood Golf Course clubhouse remodel, all of which were projects related to the Redevelopment Commission, according to Stabosz.
Stabosz confronted the council about his disapproval with a prepared statement that read:
There are two council appointments to the Redevelopment Commission (RDC) that expired at the end of last year. They are Brian Chalk and Tim Larson. I have great concerns about putting Tim Larson back on that board. Contractors who get RDC work, who sit on that board, create an appearance of a conflict of interest for both the city and the contractor. I don’t question Tim’s integrity, and desire to serve the city in good faith, but this is our appointment, and I think the RDC members need to be arms length from having any economic interest in what the RDC does. To me, that is a no-brainer. I am also uncomfortable with those who say Tim can recuse himself from decisions involving RDC contracts L-D may be bidding on, because you may still have the effect of RDC member’ close association with him on the board coloring their thoughts, to favor, or possibly even disfavor, L-D. It’s just bad policy.”
After hearing the statement, the council called for the vote.
The council voted to appoint both Chalk and Larson to the Redevelopment Commission positions they had held throughout 2018.