Sunday, July 22, 2007

Something BOTH Fort Wayne Mayoral candidates need to tell us

One of the largest problems in Fort Wayne is rampant nepotism. Our elected officials have a bad habit of choosing their relatives, their financial supporters, and the like to our public oversight boards. This needs to change.

It seems like the local Democrats and the local Republicans each have a pool of about 50 people they use to fill the local Boards. This pool is filled with relatives and financial supporters.

Not enough people get involved in politics and government.

One of the best ways we could involve more people in politics is to get new people to serve on the various Boards that exist in Fort Wayne and Allen County.

I would like to see people like Jeff Pruitt selected to sit on some of these Boards. We would be far better off...

I plan on asking Mr. Kelty about this in the near future. I hope one of the readers of this blog can find Tom Henry and ask him; otherwise, I am going to track Mr. Henry down and ask him myself.

Mike Sylvester


Jeff Pruitt said...

Thanks for the kind words Mike.

The more people we get involved with local politics in general the better off we will be as a community. I think blogging provides a great opportunity for people to engage local issues and I hope the local blogosphere continues to grow.

Specifically I think younger folks (under 25) and women are under-represented at this point...

Robert Enders said...

Mike, this is Indiana. Everybody is related to everybody else.

Seriously though, I think the problem is that government officials tend to hire people that they know very well. Most of the people that they know very well supported them during their campaign. Before appointing one of their friend to a job, an official must ask himself, "Is this truely in the best interests of the city, or am I just doing this to help my friend out?"

I think the best way to solve this is to post these open positions on the City of Fort Wayne website, then accept applications and resumes from anyone who applies. Let's say there is an opening for comptroller, and two people apply. One applicant is a CPA, the other is 3 credits shy of getting his associate degree in theatre. If the theatre major gets the job, there needs to be a very long and thorough explaination.

If I were mayor, and there was a hiring or firing issue involving a relative of mine, I would recuse myself from the descision and let the deputy mayor make the call. If I had to personally fire or demote my own aunt, that would make Thanksgiving quite the ordeal.

Karen Goldner said...

Having worked for 3 mayors, my observation about appointments to boards (remember, these are unpaid, volunteer gigs) is that a new administration always starts out with excellent intentions (and usually pretty good results) in appointing "fresh" people to boards and commissions. However, after a few years, the board appointments become more "stale" - partly (in my opinion) because running the city is just a huge job and everybody in the administration is doing the thousands of other things they have to do, so there is less attention paid to appointments and therefore you tend to appoint the people you already know.

This isn't 100% true, but it does sometimes happen.

I am confident that each of the three mayors I have worked for would have been pleased to appoint "new" people to fill boards and commissions but it is often hard to find these people. (Plus there are often statutory requirements such as party affiliation, residency, etc. - and also the "showing up" requirement which is surprisingly hard.) So I would suggest that anyone who is interested in being appointed to a board (whether you are interested in just one or two or are simply interested in any of them), send a resume and a cover letter to the Mayor's Office and say what you want to be on and why. There is a list on the city's website.

Most of these are annual appointments and at this point in the year probably there aren't many openings but you never know - and if you don't try, you probably won't get asked.

Anonymous said...


Did you get the exhibits to the Harrison Square agreements yet? If so, I would like to get a copy of them from you as early tomorrow as possible. I'll be happy to travel to you and pay the copy costs.

Any chance you could have them posted on the City website?


Mark Garvin

Anonymous said...

Long time reader. First time writer.

As it relates to the City Council's appointments to these 25 boards, city ordinance merely requires the Presidents of these committees to file reports with the President of the Council. There is no specific provision requiring the Council's appointees report back to the body who empowered them.

This is particularly important because some of these boards have taxing authority, responsibility over community dollars, and/or enforcement of city ordinances, such as the Metro & Human Relations Commission.

Adam Mildred

Angry White Boy said...

First off, I agree with Mike. Nepotism runs rampant but it's not only on board appointments; it's far deeper than that.

Robert, you stated Robert Enders said...
Mike, this is Indiana. Everybody is related to everybody else.

Ugh.. pretty broad brush stroke there Rob. East Kentucky maybe...

Kody Tinnel said...

Maybe this is a silly thing to ask but are there any Libertarians currently serving on any local boards?

Karen Goldner said...

Mark - No, I've not seen the exhibits yet.

Jennifer Jeffrey, Chair LPAC said...


Welcome buddy! Nice to see you!

Don't be shy now!

And others:

I certainly, for one, would like to see a list of who sits on government boards, which boards there are and who makes the appointments.

There should be no guesswork in who is making decisions. As it is, it is difficult to find information about how it all works for anyone.

You shouldn't have to be a political insider or a contributor to get on public boards.

Anonymous said...

Nepotism isn't just a problem in Indiana. lol

Its a major problem in our entire government, which at this point, is aptly described as an oligarchy.

Look at our President.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

I think they may change the dictionary and insert observations about President Bush to illustrate nepotism.

Mike Sylvester

Robert Enders said...

Just so that we used the correct terminology:

Nepotism is when someone hires a relative.

Cronyism is when someone hires a longtime friend.

When JFK appointed his brother Attorney General, it was nepotism. When Bush appointed Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, it was cronyism.

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