Mayor responds to clerk's accusations after parking ticket

It all started about two weeks ago when Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry got a parking ticket outside Citizens Square because the city owned car he was driving had an expired temporary license plate.

Posted: Feb. 12, 2018 11:07 PM
Updated: Feb. 13, 2018 5:59 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - A disagreement over a parking ticket continues to escalate.

It all started about two weeks ago when Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry got a parking ticket outside Citizens Square because the city owned car he was driving had an expired temporary license plate.

Now, Fort Wayne City Clerk Lana Keesling said the mayor is retaliating and taking her parking spot in the basement of Citizens Square away.

Many people across town said they couldn't believe Henry and Keesling are disagreeing over a ticket.

"The city should be focused on better things. There are other issues in the city they should focus more on, instead of a parking ticket. I don't think they should pay any attention to it," said Abraham Reyes.

Keesling claims the mayor is harassing her and retaliating over the issue because she's a woman.

"We have nine male councilmen. I don't see retaliation against them for the ordinances they put out there," said Keesling.

The mayor's office said the city bought a new Buick in November, the temporary tag on it expired in December.

However, the permanent plate didn't come in time, and many officials knew about it.

But, when the parking control officer saw the car had an expired plate and checked it with the BMV, there wasn't a record of the registration.

"We hold everybody accountable, across the board, the same. So you get held accountable just like he does," said Keesling.

"Somebody does the wrong, you got to pay for it like everyone else. You're a person, you're a citizen, so you got to take care of it," said Magdalena Whisman

Since getting the ticket, Henry sent an email to Keesling and other city employees reassigning the spaces inside the garage below Citizens Square.

One for the mayor, deputy mayor, controller and now city attorney.

Keesling said the spot for the attorney was the one she parked in.

However, Meggan Jackson said at the end of the day it's just a parking spot.

"It's a funny situation. I mean the mayor getting a parking ticket is funny in itself, but then to have that escalated to this point is a bit ridiculous," said Jackson.

Mayor Henry's spokesman, John Perlich, issued the following statement:

"Mayor Henry and City Clerk Keesling have had a positive working relationship since she became clerk. This most recent situation involving a parking ticket to a government vehicle and a change in parking arrangements is a disagreement between Mayor Henry and Clerk Keesling. We do not see this as an abuse of power situation. Both are committed public servants.

Mayor Henry was disappointed by a recent ticket that was issued to a City of Fort Wayne vehicle that's been assigned to him. The City took possession of the vehicle in Nov. 2017 with a temporary license plate. The plate had an expiration date of 12-24-17. The City did not receive the permanent license plate until after the temporary plate had expired. The City Clerk's office was aware of the situation and that the permanent plate would be arriving soon, which it did last week, the same day a ticket was issued.

There is a designated/reserved parking spot for the clerk in the parking garage attached to Citizens Square."

Keesling said their relationship needs a lot of work.

"It would take a lot to get amended because he is not happy with me over a very small thing," she said.

WFFT did check the parking garage across Clinton Street from Citizens Square to see if Keesling had a spot there.

She has one reserved on the third floor, the same floor as the bridge connecting the garage to Citzens Square.

Mayor Henry's spot is on the first floor.

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