Mesa Councilman-elect Dave Richins will resign from his job as president of a nonprofit group to avoid a conflict of interest before taking office in June, he said Tuesday.
Richins has led the West Mesa Community Development Corp. for three years, but plans to resign and find a replacement by June 1, when he takes office representing west Mesa’s District 1.
The nonprofit organization helps residents better their communities by working with public and private bodies, and is funded in part by federal community development block grants, which are distributed by the city.
“I want to avoid any conflict between the city” and the nonprofit organization, Richins said.
The potential conflict comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which governs the grants and dictates that elected officials are generally prohibited from working for an organization that receives HUD funding.
The HUD regulations do allow recipients to file for an exception, and Richins said the group may do that to benefit its future employees, but he plans to find new employment.
“It’s really not a bad time in the evolution of the company for the founder to move on,” he said. “These organizations tend to mature, and you get people who may have a skill set different and better than my own.”
Richins said the job description would be posted in the next few weeks.
In the past three years, Richins and West Mesa Community Development have started a number of community projects, including planning the light-rail area, helping businesses with new signs and facade improvement, and creating art in public spaces.
A typical day could include writing grants, filing sign permits and meeting with real estate developers, he said.
Richins said that community development corporations are based on national models and that there are more than 4,000 across the country.
He said he’s hoping more will crop up in Mesa, as the west Mesa group draws a boundary west of Horne.
“This could be the mother CDC to help others grow in our community,” Richins said.