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Election Investogation and more…

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2006-08-21


The Allen County Election Board tossed the names of 11 townships candidates - all Republicans - from the November ballot when it was learned that the candidates’ names were forged on election documents. Douglas Foy was fired from his job as Allen County Republican Party executive director for his role in the matter, and election officials are asking Allen County Prosecutor Karen Richards to launch a criminal investigation.
At issue are the “consent forms,” that the candidates were supposed to have signed themselves. Foy has admitted that he signed the forms himself and rushed them in just before the deadline. In a statement, Foy wrote “it was an error on my part.” Forging election documents is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison. Anyone who knew the documents were forged could also be charged.
The candidates removed from the ballot are Jeff Abbott, Maumee Township Advisory Board; Marty Dager, Scipio Township trustee/assessor; James Dinius, Springfield Township trustee/assessor; Bradley Hite, Eel River Township Advisory Board; Mark Hoeppner, Maumee Township Advisory Board; Robert Gibson, Lafayette Township Advisory Board; Owen Gross, Eel River Township Advisory Board; Bob Kurtz, Scipio Township Advisory Board; Loren Marshall, Lafayette Township Advisory Board; Gerald Sorg, Marion Township Advisory Board; and Keith Mendenhall, Scipio Township Advisory Board.

THE PUBLIC HAS SPOKEN ENOUGH
By a 5 to 3 vote, members of the Fort Wayne City Council shot down a proposal to hold another public meeting on local government consolidation. 1st District Councilman Tom Smith proposed the idea for another public forum arguing that citizens should have the
opportunity to speak out on the issue of whether to/how to reorganize local government.
The issue currently on the table is a City Council resolution calling for a 15-member committee to spend up to 12-months studying the consolidation issue to determine whether it makes sense to reorganize or combine certain functions, or whole units, of local government. The ball is now in the court of the Allen County Commissioners. The proposed public meeting, which would have been held Tuesday, August 29 (a “5th Tuesday” on which council normally does not meet), would have been City Council’s second public hearing on the matter and the sixth public meeting overall when you count the four citizen gab fests held by the Allen County Commissioners.
None of the previous sessions saw much support for the idea of consolidation - in fact, the overall tone was downright hostile to the notion. Insisting enough’s enough, Councilmen Sam Talarico, Jr. (R-At-Large), John Crawford (R-At Large), Don Schmidt (R-2nd District) and Tom Didier (R-3) rejected the idea of an additional public session. Their logic generally centered around the fact that City Council has already committed itself by voting to form the study committee. If Allen County Commissioners, who must take the next step to accept, reject or amend the City Council’s proposal, feel they need more input, they can host more public hearing on their own. However, Councilman Tim Pape (D-5), who also voted against another City Council public hearing, urged council members to halt the entire process, withdraw the study committee resolution and start from the beginning. That suggestion got no traction. Councilman Talarico called it a “horrible idea.”

MERGER MANIA ASSAULT
Coincidentally, a public discussion of the consolidation issue did take place barely
24-hours after the council debate when a proclaimed expert on the subject spoke at
IPFW. Andrew Sancton is professor and researcher who has studied government consolidation in Canada. His findings seem largely inconclusive on whether consolidated government is more efficient and cost effective - claims typically promoted by consolidation proponents. It’s also unclear whether his findings in Canada translate to local governments here in the U.S. However, it was pretty easy to determine where Prof. Sancton stood on the issue. His visit was sponsored by The East Allen Communities, a group representing the concerns of mainly east Allen County cities, towns and townships. And his book is titled Merger Mania: The Assault on Local Government.

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