Council votes to drop public safety position

Rusty York announced plans to retire effective Dec. 1

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday made its first push to eliminate the city’s Public Safety Director position, a half-day after the holder of that office – Rusty York – announced his retirement.

Amid discussions about the 2017 city budget, the council preliminarily voted 7-1 to remove the position from the city’s books. The council will take a final vote on Oct. 25.

The vote came just hours after York announced plans to retire effective Dec. 1. The former chief of the Fort Wayne Police Department was named Public Safety Director in January 2014 by Mayor Tom Henry when the role was reinstated after 13 years.

The position was never widely accepted, though, considering York’s $160,000-a-year salary.

In February, Fort Wayne City Council debated eliminating the Public Safety Director position before it tabled the discussion. The council pledged to revive the discussion when 2017 city budget discussions began, however.

On Tuesday, York told NewsChannel 15 that he was planning to retire for a while, but wanted to make the announcement ahead of Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Police Chief Steve Reed and Fire Chief Eric Lahey will serve as co-directors of public safety until a permanent replacement is named or the position is ultimately eliminated.