Darien BOS approves Campbell appointment despite concerns
Despite reservations from both Democratic selectmen, the BOS unanimously appointed Republican Selectman David Campbell to the shuffle project building committee to replace Norm Guimond, who is moving out of Darien.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson said she believed Campbell would be a good fit for the committee because of his building experience as CEO of Ring's End Lumber.
"Dave knows what things should cost and can question when things need to be questioned," she said.
In an earlier presentation to the BOS, Guimond said the project is on schedule and close to budget. He said the final designs for the project would be completed by April and then the project would go to bid by mid May. With the project nearing the point where construction could begin over the next few months, Republican Selectman Jerry Nielsen said it would be appropriate to have a committee member who could jump into the project with a full understanding of what's going on.
"With a month away from having the designs completed, we have got to have someone who can keep things on budget and know what the builders and contractors are talking about," Nielsen said. "Dave knows buildings inside and out and he knows the process."
However, Democratic Selectman David Bayne expressed concerns with how appointing Campbell, who was a strong proponent for the shuffle project during his tenure as first selectman, would appear to taxpayers.
"In some ways I think it may look better for town to have someone who is a skeptic about the project on the committee. I think, Dave, you'll do a fine job," Bayne said. "There are still a lot of people who are skeptics. With someone like John [Lundeen] on the committee, there would be an appearance the board is coming together behind the project. John will lay out information to the public and the board. I think it would look better."
Stevenson disagreed and said the project required the type of expertise Campbell would bring to the committee.
"I'm going to agree to disagree. I don't think the building committee needs a skeptic. It needs someone who understands the process," she said.
Bayne responded he felt appointing Campbell was an issue of "bad optics," especially because Ring's End Lumber had supplied materials to projects around town.
"Dave owns Ring's End. It's no secret he is the supplier for a lot of projects. It lends a bad optic to see Ring's End materials come into the project," he said.
Campbell quickly responded he wasn't benefitting financially from the materials used in the projects from his company, which he said was a very limited amount, and most of the items were provided at no cost.
"Most of the stuff I frickin' donated," he said. "Don't get me started. There won't be one piece of Ring's End Lumber in the project. I only supplied one thing to the Weed Beach project that they forgot."
When called to a vote both Bayne and Lundeen joined Nielsen and Stevenson in approving the appointment.
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