FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s first veto since 2020 will stand after Fort Wayne City Council failed to garner enough votes to override the veto.

During Tuesday’s meeting, councilmembers voted 5-4 in favor of overriding the veto, but City Council needed at least six votes to actually override it.

Mayor Henry’s veto stemmed from City Council wanting to impose term limits on appointments the mayor makes to City Boards.

Following Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Henry issued a statement on his veto being sustained:

The sustaining of my veto on G-23-06-42 as amended, which sought to set term limits for mayoral appointments to the City of Fort Wayne’s boards and commissions, is a win for the residents of our community.

To ensure efficient governing of the city, state law requires the Mayor to make appointments to boards and commissions in order “to efficiently perform the administrative functions required to fulfill the needs of the city’s citizens.” Many of the City’s boards and commissions function as extensions of executive responsibilities. The General Assembly’s decision to not include term limits in legislating the parameters for mayoral appointments leaves the decision of whether to impose such limitations in the executive, not the legislative, branch. 

A balance must be maintained between appointing new members and renewing the terms of members currently serving on boards and commissions. Members who continue their service offer expertise, leadership, and institutional knowledge. 

I regularly review my board and commission appointments during and nearing the conclusion of members’ terms. As the one given the responsibility to make such appointments, I take this duty seriously and will continue to do so. 

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry

When City Council originally voted on the resolution, it would have needed six votes to prevent Mayor Henry from vetoing it in the first place, but the resolution passed in a 5-3 vote with Councilman Russ Jehl being absent.

In the original vote, councilmembers Geoff Paddock, Sharon Tucker and Paul Ensley voted against the resolution, but Ensley voted in favor of the override Tuesday, and Councilwoman Michelle Chambers and Councilman Tom Freistroffer switched and voted against the override.

“Overall, I am disappointed because I at least wanted to see it come to fruition in regards to keeping this all on a level playing field,” Councilman Tom Didier said.

Last month, City Council passed a resolution that set term limits on their own appointments, but Councilman Jehl suggested he will bring forward an ordinance in the future that will reverse the decision so the legislative and executive branches stay under the same rules.