News release from the Fort Wayne City Clerk and City Council:
Notice on upcoming City Council changes
(March 16, 2020) – In response to rapidly changing procedures around the community, Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling and Fort Wayne City Council President Tom Didier are announcing modifications that will be occurring temporarily, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety and security of the citizens of Fort Wayne and the staff of the City of Fort Wayne are of the utmost concern for City Council. With that in mind, the following measures are being implemented immediately:
- All meetings will take place in the Council Courtroom, Room 035, Garden Level, Citizens Square. Meetings will still start at 5:30pm and be open to the public, although it is strongly suggested that citizens watch from home to facilitate social distancing, on channel 58 (Comcast), channel 28 (Frontier), or livestreamed through the Allen County Public Library. A link can be found at https://www.cityoffortwayne.org/city-council-information.html.
- Council will be meeting and conducting all business on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, through the end of April. This will not impact the business of the city or the passage of bills. It will simply limit instances of exposure. This means that the meeting on March 17th, April 7, & April 21st will be canceled. The meeting dates for the Committee and Regular sessions will be March 24th, April 14th, and April 28th.
- Council will not be taking public comment during meetings. Any comments citizens wish to make and have read into the record can be submitted to the Clerk’s Office by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by mail (200 East Berry, Suite 110, 46802). Comments should be no more than 300 words and must be received by the close of business the Friday before the meeting in question.
These temporary changes have been thoughtfully developed to ensure the safety of all parties, as Council is taking this pandemic very seriously, while acknowledging the need to continue to manage their role in Fort Wayne government. Said Councilman Didier, “We don’t take anything that is currently happening lightly and we’re working hard behind the scenes to maintain continuity of services. Citizens should continue to reach out to the Council office or their council person via email or phone if they need to connect. This is the most responsible way for Council to continue to do the necessary business without further vulnerability.”
Clerk Keesling, who will be implementing these procedures, concurred, stating, “We have to take these threats seriously. I’ve been working with local and state officials to make sure that we are proceeding in the safest possible manner, still ensuring compliance with all Open Door and Public Access Laws. We strongly recommend that all citizens heed the warnings of our local Health Department and practice social distancing for the foreseeable future.”
These updated policies are in line with current best practices utilized by other communities around Indiana. These policies are subject to change, as policies from national, state, and local offices change. All policies will be re-evaluated at the end of April and will hopefully standard protocols will be returned.