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Our omnipresent mayor

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-05-06


If former Mayor Graham Richard was the “invisible mayor,” current chief executive Tom Henry could be considered the omnipresent mayor.

It appears that Mayor Henry hasn’t met a photo-op he doesn’t like. Henry has been extremely visible in his first four months in office appearing at news conferences, public events, fundraisers and other activities.

Take the recent Peace in the Streets rally (pictured above) held on the city’s southeast quadrant for example. Where Mayor Richard’s typically did a face-in-the-place drive-by (getting in and out as quickly but graciously as possible), Mayor Henry frankly stunned organizers of the rally by staying through the whole event and walking the entire two-miles of the march.

In addition to cranking out news releases like nobody’s business, Henry’s public information staff keeps the mayor’s dance card full to the brim. And the mayor appears to enjoy every minute of it.

That’s not to suggest that Henry is a rabid attention seeker (although he did increase the city’s public information staff from one person to three), or that Richard’s “invisible mayor” moniker was a fair assessment - neither is the case.

However, it does point out a major difference in style and philosophy between the former and current mayors. Where Richard preferred the background, Henry doesn’t mind the spotlight and seems to appreciate how important just lending his presence can be to an event or initiative. Having the mayor show up is often a sign of validation to the organizers of an event. I mean, if the mayor participated in this event, it must be important.

PADOMETER - the official scorecard of local politics:

LOCAL BLOGGERS - status NEUTRAL
The Henry Administration has run afoul of the local blogosphere. Several bloggers have requested the same access to news releases as the mainstream media. The administration has been non-committal so far. Several bloggers are bugged by the diss.

KEVIN KNUTH - status UP
Former Allen Co. Democratic Party Chair/current County Council candidate challenges the local GOP ... but for charity not politics. He asking for donations to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Knuth will be locked-up during MDA’s upcoming fund drive and he’s hoping GOP members will donate funds to bail him out. Good luck with that.

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