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Council voting to override "Pay-to-Play" veto

Late last month, council approved an ordinance limiting contracts awarded to companies who contribute more than $2,000 a year to political campaigns in a 6-2 vote.

Posted: Dec. 10, 2017 10:22 PM
Updated: Dec. 11, 2017 9:07 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Fort Wayne's city council is working to make the competitive bidding a little more transparent.

Late last month, council approved an ordinance limiting contracts awarded to companies who contribute more than $2,000 a year to political campaigns in a 6-2 vote.


"It says in the request for qualifications process that we would take a look at how much money was given to any city elected official's campaign," said 4th district councilman Jason Arp.

Arp said that includes the mayor, city council and even the city clerk.

He brought the ordinance to council with councilman John Crawford.

However, Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry didn't sign the ordinance, he sent it back to council for more discussion instead.

In a letter to council members, he said he doesn't think the ordinance is constitutional since he said it would limit campaign donations.

Arp said that's not the case.

"We're city council. We can't regulate campaign finance but we can regulate the way we do our contracting," said Arp.

The ordinance applies to contracted services such as architects and civil engineers; services that got the Riverfront project to where it is today.

"The handful of people that are doing work for the city don't, many don't even live in the state. When they are impacting your political races more so than the local person," Arp said.

A similar ordinance about a decade ago was voted down because of legal issues.

Mayor Henry said he doesn't want to burden tax payers if the ordinance is taken to court.

"Who would sue? Is a company going to sue because they couldn't give more money to the mayor's race and they want to be able to do business with the city? I think that would look pretty bad on their part," said Arp.

City council will vote to override the mayor's veto during its meeting on Tuesday. That starts at 5:30 inside Citizen's Square.

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