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Henry names new deputy mayor

Civic veteran Karl Bandemer to start Oct. 28


– Fort Wayne will again have a deputy mayor.

Mayor Tom Henry announced Tuesday the appointment of Karl Bandemer to the position. The deputy mayor runs the day-to-day operations of the city like a chief operating officer who can also step in to the mayor’s role if the mayor is incapacitated.

Bandemer replaces Mark Becker, who announced July 19 he was leaving the position to become the first CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., the organization created from the merger of the Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce and the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance.

Bandemer has nearly 40 years’ experience in local government and business, including stints as the city’s economic development director in the 1980s, as vice president of downtown development for Greater Fort Wayne Inc., and with the Downtown Development Trust and the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission.

He has also held leadership positions with Sturges Development Group, Northill Corp., the Region 3A Development and Regional Planning Commission, United Way of Allen County and the Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council.

“He has significant leadership skills, he has experience in economic development and he’s a respected community leader,” Henry said. “Karl is truly committed to making Fort Wayne the best that it can be.”

Henry said he first met Bandemer in the early 1980s, when Henry was elected to the City Council. Bandemer was the city’s economic development director, and International Harvester had just announced it was closing its Fort Wayne manufacturing plant, cutting thousands of jobs.

“It was truly one of the toughest times this community had faced in decades,” Henry said. “We had 14 percent unemployment. It was truly a tragic time for this city.”

But Bandemer realized the city was too reliant on manufacturing, Henry said, and set about to diversify the city’s job base, a move that has paid off handsomely.

“I think over the years he’s received very little credit for that, but I was there, I witnessed it,” Henry said.

Bandemer said he’s honored by the appointment.

“These are exciting times for Fort Wayne, and I look forward to helping the city move forward,” Bandemer said.

Bandemer said he plans to focus on economic development, especially downtown.

Henry said Bandemer’s salary is still being negotiated; Becker was paid $85,265 in 2012. Bandemer begins work Oct. 28.