Commissioners seek changes in county government

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen County Commissioners have announced they’re looking to make some changes to county government with help from an advisory board they put together last month.

Their announcement comes after voters rejected a single county executive referendum on Tuesday. The proposal would have placed all executive powers in a single county executive and all legislative and fiscal powers in a nine-member county council.

Though Commissioners Nelson Peters, Therese Brown and Linda Bloom had different points of view on the referendum, they said in their press conference Thursday they’re working together to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of county government.

“What I think we’ve taken out of the discussions from both sides of the issue is that, yes there are indeed areas in which county government can improve,” said Commissioners Peters.

The advisory board is made up of community, business and academic leaders. They will look at the administrative and legislative side of county government and how it can work efficiency and effectively for the citizens of Allen County. Peters said the administrative side of their office can be worked on internally, but the legislative side of their office might need some help from the General Assembly, if it comes to that point.

“We hope that we can have a true dialogue about what benefits they can see in enhancing the improvement and greater efficiencies of the commissioner’s office,” said Commissioner Brown.

Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics said this isn’t the first time an issue to make changes to local government has been brought up, but the county commissioners will have to focus on what’s next after the recommendations are made.

“The big challenge will be whether any things are identified that’s worthy of change and whether the elected officials are able to follow through on that,” he said.

The advisory board to the county commissioners will consist of the following:

  • Ellen Cutter, Director of the IPFW Community Research Institute (facilitator)
  • Mark Becker, CEO of Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
  • Terry McDonald, Mayor of New Haven
  • Roger Hadley, President of Allen County Farm Bureau
  • Mike Eikenberry, Dean of IPFW’s Doermer School of Business
  • Bill Fishering, Allen County Attorney
  • Bob Taylor, President and CEO of Do It Best Corp.
  • Kent Castleman, Board President of New Allen Alliance

The board was formed last month. Commissioners hope to have recommendations from the board within a year.

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