Ordinance addressing pay to play survives after Mayor sent it back unsigned

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne City Council has voted to override the Mayor’s decision regarding a pay to play ordinance. Last week Mayor Tom Henry sent the ordinance back to Council unsigned. By not sighing the ordinance within ten days of its passage an automatic veto set in.

Two weeks ago Council voted six to two to approve an ordinance that would prohibit a corporation from donating more than $2,000 a year to a local political campaign if it planned to bid for city contracts. Last week Mayor Henry sent a letter to City Council saying “there is no question from a philosophical and ideological view this issue needs to be address.” However, he thought this ordinance set the city up for potential lawsuits, broke the law and was unconstitutional.

In the letter, Mayor Henry encouraged the Council to revise the ordinance. Councilman Michael Barranda did that, but it didn’t even get introduced to be discussed. Council voted six to three against introducing it, then proceeded to vote in the same way to override the veto that was in place on the original ordinance.

Council needed a two-thirds vote to override it which it had.

A City Spokesperson sent this comment regarding the vote:

“We’re disappointed by City Council’s vote to override Mayor Henry’s veto. Last week, the Mayor showed a willingness and interest in having further discussions to improve the ordinance to address local campaign finance protocols, policies and procedures. We continue to have concerns about the constitutionality of this ordinance. We also believe it violates state law and doesn’t protect First Amendment rights. In addition, there isn’t clarity on how the ordinance will be enforced and there’s no proof of past or current activities that would warrant Council’s passage of the ordinance in its current form.”