At last evening’s City Council reorganization meeting, Councilman Tom Smith was selected to lead the Council over Councilman Marty Bender. Â You can read the details of the proceedings here.
One of the things alluded to last evening by several Councilmen including John Shoaff and Tim Pape was a possible conflict of interest for Marty. Â For those who don’t know, Marty Bender is a highly-respected Fort Wayne Police Department Deputy Chief. Â Right now, this conflict doesn’t exist – at least not in the minds of Fort Wayne voters. Â Where it does exist is with Governor Mitch Daniels’Â Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform:
24. Prohibit employees of a local government unit from serving as elected officials within the same local government unit. –Recommended
Rationale: Indiana allows employees of a unit of local government to serve as elected policymakers for that unit (i.e. a deputy or a county officer could serve on the county council). This is a clear conflict of interest, and should be prohibited.
I can see how this would provide the impetus for corruption, and frankly, it was a non-starter as far as issues go in the elections that have twice landed Bender on the City Council. Â Two terms where he served faithfully and with integrity and honesty. Â I think Marty would have made an outstanding Council President. Â I’m sorry it didn’t happen.
That said, I think Councilman Smith will do an excellent job of sheperding the discussion and direction of the Council during meetings. Â The only concern I would have is the desire to keep meetings short. Â The discussion that has ocurred around the Council table, while at times tedious and apparently without direction, has at other times been most productive.