Fort Wayne City Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at large, got a quick lesson in the quid pro quo of council politics last week.
When discussing who would serve as the councils appointee to the Fort Wayne Plan Commission, Councilman Tom Smith, R-1st, made no secret he wanted to continue in that post. Smith has held it for most of his tenure on the council.
But Brown spoke up, asking to be considered for it as well. With no speeches given, Brown won the spot in a 5-3 vote.
That victory, however, was not without cost.
In picking the councils appointee to the board of the Allen County Solid Waste Management District, Brown said she wanted to remain on that board so she could complete the first review of the departments director, Tony Burrus.
Councilwoman Karen Goldner, D-2nd, also said she wanted the position.
After some debate on whether they could both serve – they couldnt – a vote was taken that seemed deadlocked at 4 until Councilman Tim Pape, D-5th, showed up late to give the deciding vote to Goldner.
All council members followed party lines in their vote for the position except one: Smith. He voted for Goldner over Brown, who just minutes before took his plan commission seat.
It seems scorn can trump even party labels.
Leading the prayer
He isnt a minister but he does a fine impersonation of one.
House Speaker Pat Bauer, D-South Bend, delivered an impromptu prayer to the Indiana House last week when the scheduled pastor was running late.
Sometimes were right. Sometimes were wrong. But whatever we are, help us get along. Amen.
The short-and-sweet invocation elicited some chuckles from the lawmakers on the floor, and later Bauer said he was inspired from above and couldnt take credit for it.
I wanted to instill peace and cooperation in 25 words or less, he said.
Toeing the line
Many committee chairmen take their jobs seriously. But only one that we know of passes out a two-page list of rules.
Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, handed out the 24 rules to everyone attending his Education & Career Development Committee last week.
Most are technical and relate to the process of testifying or filing amendments.
Here is a sample of the rules with our personal interpretation in parentheses:
Good civility and appropriate Senate decorum is the required behavior. (This isnt the House. Act like a grown-up.)
The chairman wishes each committee member to be well-informed before voting. (Read the bills and listen to the testimony.)
Proxy voting is prohibited. (Dont send an intern to vote because you are running late.)
The chairman will determine when a vote will be taken on a bill. (I am in charge.)
Witnesses cannot debate the bill authors, sponsors or committee members. (We dont owe you any explanations about the bill.)
Despite not wanting to announce her mayoral campaign until after this years Republican primary, County Councilwoman Paula Hughes, R-2nd, recently took some public shots at Mayor Tom Henry.
In a guest column in Tuesdays Journal Gazette, Hughes attacked Henrys support of a plan to collect some taxes from non-profit groups.
Henry previously said having the historically tax-exempt groups pay something to government would help keep intact vital services, such as police and fire protection.
While Hughes doesnt ask people to support her run in the column, she does write, Its time our city found its direction and a mayor who is able and willing to lead in that effort.
We wonder who she is talking about.
Mayor Tom Henry has again selected a new place to deliver his annual State of the City address.
Henry will give the 30-minute speech Feb. 10 at 5:30 p.m. This years venue is the Rhinehart Music Center on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.
No ticket is required to attend.
The speech will be carried live on WPTA-TV, Channel 21 (Comcast and Verizon FiOS Channel 7); WISE-TV, Channel 33 (Comcast Channel 13, Verizon FiOS Channel 4); and City TV on public access.
Find your legislator
Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita last week launched an upgraded version of Indianas online legislator search application at www.in.gov/sos.
Hoosiers can now use the application to more easily search for and contact their elected officials at the state and federal levels through geographic information system technology.
Over the past few years, we have been able to harness geographic information system technology for economic development, natural resources and disaster recovery, Rokita said. We were able to use that same technology to empower voters and taxpayers to easily connect with their elected representatives.
The previous version produced results for one chamber at a time. But the upgrade provides search results that include all state and federal elected officials, including contact information for each legislator.