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…But I did not shoot the Deputy


Fort Wayne Reader


While the nation wonders who presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama will choose as their vice-presidential running mates, Fort Wayne has its own second-in-command guessing game: Who will be the City’s deputy mayor?

Deputy Mayor Mark Becker, a holdover from the Richard Administration, left the post to become Director of Regional Development for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, and Executive Director of the Northeast Indiana Foundation. His departure prompted Mayor Tom Henry to reconvene the transition team of civic leaders who helped screen prospective members of his cabinet.

However, sources close to the screening process for deputy mayor say the process is slow going. Sure, there have been a number of applicants for the $100,000-plus job, but the people screen those applicants haven’t been bowled over by the crop of hopefuls. Reportedly, team members are now actively recruiting potential candidates.

Part of the problem is the unique skill set required for the position. Obviously, the position requires a strong grasp of the inner workings of local government - no small task. It also requires zen-like patience in the face of the bureaucracy that is govermment and the perseverance to push through it. In terms of managing staff and tasks, the job is part motivator, part taskmaster, part strategizer, part ambassador (to City Council, and county and state government) and part anything else that compliments Mayor Henry’s strengths and weaknesses.

And that’s the other big dilema. Is the mayor cognizant of what his weaknesses might be presently and going forward? If not, it will be difficult for him to select someone who can shore up those areas.

While a handfull of current city employees have applied for the position, one of the best prospects apparently has not. Greg Leatherman, executive director of development, is often mentioned as a potentially nice fit for the position given his experience in government as well as his trial-by-fire experiences with controversial initiatives like the redevelopment of Southtown Centre and the current Harrison Square project. But he enjoys his current gig.

For now, the search continues.

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.