Burgess requests Brown’s resignation from DID

Gina Burgess for Allen County Council

News release from the Vote Gina Burgess committee:

Burgess Requests Browns Resignation from DID
Cites “Pay to Play”

Hello everyone and thank you for attending this press conference. I will be reading a statement and then everyone will have a chance to ask questions afterwards.

As you know, my name is Gina Burgess. In 2003, I wrote a book called “Discover Downtown: An Illustrated Guide to Fort Wayne, Indiana.” In 2004, I created Recreational Rentals, Inc., which is the parent company of Model T Bicycle Rentals. In 2005, I launched Model T Bicycle Rentals in Headwaters Park. Model T successfully ran from 2005 through 2010 and has been temporarily closed down for 2011 and 2012 due to various Clinton Street construction projects. In operating Model T, I’ve had the pleasure to work with DID, the Visitors Center, and the Indiana Department of Tourism. I live Downtown, have worked Downtown, and operated a business Downtown. In addition to that, as many of you know, I am also running for Allen County Council.

As many of you also know, Bill Brown was recently appointed the Interim Director for the Downtown Improvement District. In conjunction with this appointment, Bill Brown is a self-employed electrician who is also running for Allen County Council.

The reason for this press conference is that I’m calling for Bill Brown to voluntarily step down from this new appointment. I’m also requesting that the Downtown Improvement District open its hiring process to the general public.

In my opinion, as an author of a book about Downtown and as a Downtown business owner, Bill Brown is simply not the best person for the job with DID. He applied for the job in 2005 and was turned down, after competing with a pool of other potential employees. Between 2005 and 2012, his qualifications have not changed, unless you consider the thousands of dollars Bill Brown has paid from his campaign funds to underwrite DID programs. Even if this new “qualification” were added to Bill Browns resume….he was still unable to get this job in a competitive environment.

He obtained this job as matter of behind the scenes wrangling with those he paid monies too….to the purposeful exclusion of any other potentially qualified job applicant. If he was the best, most qualified applicant, he would have been able to earn this job the old fashioned way….by competing in an open pool full of other qualified potential employees.

As a matter of principle, I have a hard time with any politician who uses money from their campaign funds to obtain employment, especially employment that is funded by taxpayer dollars, by way of a political appointment. The best case scenario – it’s another example of “pay to play” or should I say “pay to pay”….the worse case scenario, this is yet another example of Republican candidates using their political networks to garner special favors not available to the general public.

As a matter of principle, I also have a hard time with Bill Brown, while running for County Council, putting himself in a position to be employed by an agency who relies on County Council for funding. In this situation, even if Bill Brown was somehow proven to be the best qualified employee for the job, this hiring process should have been open to every Allen County resident….and not just those who “pay to play.” As a currently self-employed sole proprietor, especially one running for County Council, I would expect Bill Brown to agree with me on this particular point.

Because Bill Brown’s appointment by DID is tainted by the perception of “pay to play” or political cronyism, because the position is funded by tax payer dollars, and because the hiring process was not open to the tax-paying public, I again call for Bill Brown to voluntarily resign from this appointment and respectfully request DID to begin accepting resumes and applications from the general public, effective immediately.

Thank you.


Images and video from Burgess news conference


Webmaster’s note: Video footage and photos will be posted later today. In the meantime, documents backing up her claims may be found on her Facebook page.


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