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In Tom we trust?

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-09-22


Twice in two weeks, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry found himself the recipient of a public smackdown.

First, it was 6th District City Councilman Glynn Hines who opened a can of whoop-ass and served the mayor a double-shot during council’s September 9th meeting. Council members were voting on whether to override Mayor Henry’s veto of an ordinance creating a new Fire Merit Board. The board would give firefighters more say in the hiring, firing, discipline and promotion of fire personnel. Mayor Henry vetoed the idea claiming it created a new and unnecessary level of bureaucracy. Hines was the last and the deciding vote on whether the Mayor, a fellow Democrat, would get his way. As it turned out, Henry didn’t get his way, but he did get an earful.

“I just don’t trust that this administration will do the right thing based on their record in the nine months that they’ve been in office,” Hines publicly declared.

In casting his vote to override the mayor’s veto, Hines lashed out at the Henry Administration for what Hines called its dismal record in hiring African-Americans to top-level jobs.

“They’ve let down the African-American community in not having a single African-American at a department head (level),” Hines said. “There have been empty promises, and I don’t see any commitment.”

Just one week later, prominent businessman Pete Eshelman, CEO of American Specialty, and former chair of the board of the Northeast Indiana Public Safety Foundation, lashed out at Mayor Henry in a guest column in The News-Sentinel.

“Bad politics pushed out good policy,” Eshelman charged has he explained his view that the Henry Administration failed to operate in good faith and, in Eshelman’s words, was “unethical” in its attempts to craft an agreement for the management of the academy, which was originally proposed as a regional training facility for public safety professionals.

Both pronouncements were blistering. Worse yet, they called into question a public officials’ most important asset: trust.

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