FORT WAYNE, Ind. – At Tuesday’s city council meeting, a pair of resolutions councilman Russ Jehl sponsored were discussed.
To put more power in the hands of the city council by allowing them to appoint more members to government boards.
The first resolution aims to take elections from the mayor and give them to the council.
“It’s amazing that half of the boards and commissions locally are set up to have only executive branch input (mayor) but no legislative branch (council) input,” Jehl said. “And it’s not a surprise that a lot of the conflict that you see between the administration and council comes from boards with no collaboration with the board.”
According to Jehl, there are approximately 61 local boards and commissions that Fort Wayne appoints members to. Jehl says the Mayor appoints 180 members to those boards and the city council only appoints 49 members.
And 28 of those boards don’t have any appointments from city council.
“That puts council in a difficult place if there is something that controversial comes up,” Jehl said.
Ultimately he wants the city council (the legislative arm as he puts it) to be on more equal footing with the mayor (the executive office of the city), mimicking the U.S. Constitution’s system of checks and balances more closely.
The second resolution aims to give council votes in committees that currently, the state appoints members to.
Jehl says there are fifteen boards the state legislature appoints, but that city council must approve actions of.
As Jehl says, the council needs “eyes and ears,” in committees that they are approving final decisions from.
Both bills were just discussed this week and will be put to another vote in a regular session of council which will happen next week.