Fort Wayne City Councilmen address ongoing Electric Works requests for information

Since the termination of the Economic Development Agreement for the Electric Works project on Aug. 3, members of the city council say they have requested information about what happened and have not received answers.

Posted: Sep 2, 2020 6:44 PM
Updated: Sep 2, 2020 10:50 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) —  Fort Wayne City Councilman At-Large Glynn Hines and 3rd District Councilman Tom Didier presented a plan Wednesday to move forward with requests for information from Mayor Tom Henry, his administration and the Redevelopment Commission.

Since the termination of the Economic Development Agreement for the Electric Works project on Aug. 3, members of the city council say they have requested information about what happened and have not received answers.

Council has requested Mayor Tom Henry, Deputy Mayor Karl Bandemer, Redevelopment Commission Chair Christopher Guerin and then-Redevelopment Director Nancy Townsend attend a session of Council to discuss how and why the EDA was terminated.

As of Wednesday evening, only Nancy Townsend, who is now director of community development, and the Corporation Council for the City of Fort Wayne have agreed to appear and discuss the dissolution.

“Unfortunately the Mayor has chosen to send the Redevelopment Director down to discuss matters with us that should be handled by the Executive. Council has the fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the monies of the City of Fort Wayne are spent appropriately and we cannot do that if the person making the decisions will not talk to us. Therefore, we need to look into ways to compel him, and others connected to the termination of the EDA, to speak to us. Sending a subpoena seems to be the only way,” Hines explained.

Indiana Code 36-4-6-21 provides that the legislative body may investigate departments, officers and employees of the city.

The legislative body is also entitled, by code, to access to all records pertaining to the investigation.

“It is important to figure out why the EDA was terminated. There’s a lot riding on the Electric Works deal, especially the future of Do It Best, Corp., in the community. All interested parties need to have the same information in order to put together the best possible plan to keep all of these jobs in Allen County. We wish the Mayor would share this information with his partners willingly, but we need to figure out how to obtain that information if he is unwilling to share it,” Didier explained.

Councilmen Hines and Didier plan to introduce a resolution to city council in their next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

They said the resolution will request the council to move forward with a formal investigation into what caused the EDA termination.

The bill is expected to be discussed at a future council meeting.

More information about Indiana Code 36-4-6-21 can be found below.

IC 36-4-6-21 Investigative powers of legislative body
Sec. 21. (a) The legislative body may investigate:
(1) the departments, officers, and employees of the city;
(2) any charges against a department, officer, or employee of the city; and
(3) the affairs of a person with whom the city has entered or is about to enter into a contract.
(b) When conducting an investigation under this section, the legislative body:
(1) is entitled to access to all records pertaining to the investigation; and
(2) may compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence by subpoena and attachment served and executed in the county in which the city is located.
(c) If a person refuses to testify or produce evidence at an investigation conducted under this section, the legislative body may order its clerk to immediately present to the circuit court, superior court, or probate court of the county a written report of the facts relating to the refusal. The court shall hear all questions relating to the refusal to testify or produce evidence, and shall also hear any new evidence not included in the clerk's report. If the court finds that the testimony or evidence sought should be given or produced, it shall order the person to testify or produce the evidence, or both.
[Pre-Local Government Recodification Citation: 18-1-4-2 part.]
As added by Acts 1980, P.L.212, SEC.3. Amended by Acts 1980, P.L.73, SEC.9; Acts 1981, P.L.11, SEC.163; P.L.84-2016, SEC.174.

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