During the “Comments from Council” portion of last evening’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, Councilman Mitch Harper had new information to shared with the public regarding the High Performance Government contract. Â Just as recently as December 2nd, City Purchasing Director Jim Howard and City Human Resources Director,Â Alan R. Candioto appeared before the City Council to discuss the contract. Â This after a State Board of Accounts Audit suggested that the City Council once again review the contract.
Councilman Harper reported that on September 30th, one day after the SBOA report was filed, the City and the High Performance Government Network signed a new contract. Â This new contract was not mentioned in the December 2nd appearance, nor any other day since it’s signing. Â Councilman Tim Pape immediately responded that the City has saved $30-40 million since High Performance Government was brought to the City eight years ago.
The comment I’ll make here, and I’ve carefully thought this through, is that up until September 29th, the current Administration could innocently claim no involvement or foreknowledge of the contract signed at the end of December, 2007. Â Whether you believed that claim or not is up to you. Â However, now, with this new contract signed the day after the SBOA report’s filing date and unquestionably during this Administration’s term, they have made themselves a partner in the venture and thereby fully assumed responsibility for the contract. Â Further, to keep this from the City Council – when they are directly in front of the Council for the very purpose of “clearing the air” – smacks of disrespect for the community and the City Council.
Further, I have respected Mayor Tom Henry, from a distance as I don’t know him personally. Â I have always had a high opinion of him. Â He has always struck me as a decent, honest, God-fearing man whom I thought would do a fair job of leading our City into further prosperity. Â Part of this came from the way he handled himself during his campaign and the entire Matt Kelty controversy. Â The problem was, that we really didn’t get a chance to know Tom Henry the leader and possible Mayor during that campaign as the Kelty issues completely overshadowed it leaving little room to explore the true issues faced by this community at that time. Â (I know Mayor Henry was a City Councilman at one point, but that was before my time.) Â I still respect Mayor Henry, but with this latest revelation and other things that have occurred during his first year in office, I am conflicted when trying to reconcile my perceptions with reality. Â Whatever is happening on the ninth floor, please, remember that we are behind you, but there are limits to what our community will accept, but no limits to our collective memory which is exercised in an election year.
Jeff Pruitt at Fort Wayne Politics has posted more information, including scans of the contract on his blog. Â For the record, Jeff is the one that discovered this newest contract after receiving approval for his request for public information. Â Hats off to Jeff! Â For the original contracts, Mitch Harper at Fort Wayne Observed. Below is video of Councilmen Harper and Pape’s comments.