Council passes ‘pay-to-play’ ordinance

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Fort Wayne council members passed an ordinance Tuesday night that adds transparency to contractors and the donations they make to elected officials.

City Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, believes some city contractors are favored because they helped Mayor Tom Henry get into office. He and councilman John Crawford, R-At Large, proposed the new law. If a key employer of a company donates more than $2,000 in one year to any municipal campaign in Fort Wayne, he or she is not allowed to bid for city government contracts. A key employer is someone who has at least 7.5 percent ownership of a company.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councilmen voted 6 to 2 in favor of the ordinance.

The councilmen based their judgement off of research from the Indiana Policy Review, which they say shows almost two-thirds of Henry’s 2015 campaign dollars are from city vendors. Arp said there’s a high correlation between the number of bids contractors are winning and the amount they donated to Henry.

Arp said he has no solid proof the contractors are trying to secure more contracts by donating, but didn’t like what the numbers suggested.