Of Presidents and VP’s

This week will mark organizational meetings for at least three local governing bodies.

First up is the Fort Wayne City Council’s annual organizational session on Tuesday.  The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm (and unlike the polar bear plunge, I do know what I’m talking about this time!) in the City Council Chambers at the City County Building.  To be elected will be the City Council President and Vice-President.  The current President is Marty Bender (R-At Large) while the Vice-President is Mitch Harper (R-4th).

This is the last year of the current term.  All Council members will be up for re-election this November.  First, of course, they will have to be successful in their respective primaries.  Past Presidents and their Veeps during this term have been:

  • 2010 – Marty Bender (R-At Large) and Mitch Harper (R-4th)
  • 2009 – Tom Smith (R-1st) and Glynn Hines (D-6th)
  • 2008 – Tom Didier (R-3rd) and Tom Smith (R-1st)

If you’ve noticed a lack of Democrats in the key positions, that’s because the Republicans hold the majority at the table by 1 seat.  Often times in such matters, the selection of President can be a sign of a body’s support of a particular candidate if they are facing a particularly harsh re-election campaign or perhaps even are aspiring to higher office.  With Councilwoman Liz Brown’s hat in the Mayoral race for next year, will she be the anointed one?  There has been talk, although nothing official from him about Councilman Harper possibly running for Mayor.  But then, I’ve heard a few rumors along the same lines about Councilman Didier as well.  I think one thing is certain – there won’t be a Democrat put into either position this year.  I don’t see Councilman Harper or any of his fellow Republicans facing a contested primary, unless he decides to run for Mayor.  If any of the Republicans could use a vote of confidence in this regard, it would be Councilman Bender as the At-Large race is drawing many contenders.

You may ask what all the fuss is about in regards to the position of Council President.  This position is highly visible.  Councilman Smith during his tenure did not hesitate to take the current Mayoral administration to task concerning it’s actions or decisions.  Probably the least vocal during their stint was Councilman Didier.

The styles of the three past presidents have been different as well.  Councilman Didier tried to keep things moving, but seemed to be reluctant to take a stand at times and unable to keep the meetings on task.  Councilman Smith on the other hand was vocal about his desire to keep things moving, but for the most part ineffectual against the tendency of this Council to become immersed in the minute details of City government.  Perhaps the best of the three was Councilman Bender who has done a pretty good job of keeping things moving in a timely fashion.  That’s not to say there hasn’t been some long meetings, but they would have been even longer if not for Bender’s gavel.  Part of his performance was no doubt enhanced by the fact that three years into it, the Council’s learning curve has greatly improved and the need to get into the minute details diminished somewhat.

While many of the duties are discharged during Council meetings, there is a fair amount of work that goes into the behind the scenes running of the Council as well.  Council agenda items can be set or rearranged by the President.  The President can also decide not to meet if enough items are not on the agendas.  During meetings, the President can control – as long as the rest of the council acquiesces – to a great extent the flow of the meetings.

So who do you think will be the next Council President?  Vote in the poll at the top of the column next to this post.  I feel it will come down to two names for the Presidential slot – Brown and Harper.  For Vice-President?  Tom Smith.  Possibly like the polar bear plunge, I’ll be wrong.


Allen County Council

The other government body that meets for reorganization this week is the Allen County Council.  This meeting is Thursday morning at 8:30 am and will be in the Commissioners Courtroom on the 2nd floor of the City-County Building.  The agenda may be downloaded here.

The County Council will select a President and Vice-President.  This year’s President was Paula Hughes (R-2nd) and Vice-President Darren Vogt (R-3rd).  Councilwoman Hughes did not run for re-election so that she could pursue the Mayor’s office in the City of Fort Wayne, which reinforces my point above about a body showing support.  Councilman Vogt won an uncontested race last November and is back for another four year term.

Previous President and Vice-Presidents included:

  • 2010 – Paula Hughes (R-2nd) and Darren Vogt (R-3rd)
  • 2009 – Roy Buskirk (R-At Large) and Paula Hughes (R-2nd)
  • 2008 – Paul Moss (R-At Large) and Roy Buskirk (R-At Large)
  • 2007 – Paul Moss (R-At Large) and Roy Buskirk (R-At Large)
  • 2006 – Paula Hughes (R-2nd) and Paul Moss (R-At Large)
  • 2005 – Darren Vogt (R-3rd) and Paula Hughes (R-2nd)

None of the County Council members face re-election this year.  I don’t follow the County Council as closely as the City Council so I’m not sure about the chances for anyone.  I doubt any of the new Councilman will be elected to the position, as they’ll have their hands full just getting up to speed.  The new Council members this term include Kevin Howell (R-1st) who defeated Democrat Maye Johnson last November and Tom Harris (R-2nd) who replaces Paula Hughes.  Johnson was the only Democrat on the County Council, so I think I can safely guess it will be a Republican who is the next County Council President.  That’s the extent of my prediction.

Do you have any ideas for either Council’s key positions?


Allen County Board of Commissioners

The Allen County Board of Commissioners will meet this Friday at 10 am in the Commissioners Courtroom on the 2nd floor of the City-County  Building. This will also be the first Legislative Session for newly elected Commissioner Therese Brown (R-2nd) who replaced Commissioner Bill Brown who did not run for re-election last November.

Unlike the City and County Councils, the Board of Commissioners elects a third position as well, that of Secretary.  As with the other two bodies, the President has a lot to do with setting the agendas for the meetings and controlling the pace of the meetings.

Previous Board of Commissioner President, Vice-President and Secretary positions included:

  • 2010 – Linda Bloom, Bill Brown and Nelson Peters
  • 2009 – Bill Brown, Nelson Peters and Linda Bloom
  • 2008 – Linda Bloom, Bill Brown and Nelson Peters
  • 2007 – Nelson Peters, Linda Bloom and Bill Brown

Again, none of the Commissioners face an election campaign this year, unless one of them would decide to run for Mayor of the City of Fort Wayne.  Commissioner Peters did exactly that four years ago and was defeated in the Primary by fellow Republican Matt Kelty.  I haven’t heard any buzz about such a run this time from Peters, but won’t rule it out at this point.  Commissioner Peters would probably be my guess as President with Commissioner Therese Brown as Vice-President and Commissioner Bloom as Secretary.  But, only time will tell.

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