Dorson resigns from chamber post

Roland Dorson has resigned as president of the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce, employees of the organization were told Friday.

Roland Dorson Dorson

Dorson, who joined the chamber in 1991 and had been president since 2006, has been on an extended leave of absence. Neither he nor board leaders would explain why, but sources told IBJ it was the result of a dispute.

Dorson could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

In a prepared statement, chamber officials said Dorson will act as a senior consultant through the end of the year. A search for his replacement is expected to begin after an executive committee meeting Tuesday.

"We have worked out a mutually agreeable [solution] that allows the chamber to move forward," Dorson said in the statement.

Some on the chamber board, which has more than 100 members, said they were notified several weeks ago that Dorson was on leave for health reasons. More recently they received an e-mail from the executive committee, followed by a letter from his lawyer, Michael Blickman at Ice Miller LLP, indicating that his absence was tied to a disagreement.

People familiar with the chamber's work on a regional mass transit plan said Dorson was at odds with Board Chairman John Neighbours and Mark Miles, CEO of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.

Miles' group, the chamber and Central Indiana Community Foundation co-founded the Central Indiana Transit Task Force, a private-sector group that created a regional transit proposal.

Last month, CICP named ex-Indy Partnership CEO Ron Gifford executive director of the transit task force. Gifford, a former government affairs attorney with Baker & Daniels, oversaw the March 1 merger of regionally focused economic-development group Indy Partnership and Develop Indy, the city's economic-development arm.

Dorson made $208,164 in salary and bonus pay in 2009, according to the most recent tax filings available. With benefits, his total compensation was valued at $238,370.

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