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COUNCILMAN’S CORNER

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Fort Wayne 4th District Councilman Mitch HarperIt has been a great privilege to participate in the Waynedale Community Improvement Team with a dedicated group of people. Waynedale is home to many great events and the team looks forward to creating events that help knit residents together and promote Waynedale to others in northeast Indiana.

The next event is  the 2nd Annual Easter Egg Hunt to be held on April 7 at 10 AM at Waynedale Community Park. There is more information in this edition of The Waynedale News. The youngest Easter Egg hunters will have a special opportunity to gather eggs separate from the older kids, who tend to be a little faster.

That special hunt for the youngest kids will be on the tennis court at the Waynedale Park. While you are at the tennis court be sure to take a look at the special striping that was added last year which makes the tennis courts suitable for both tennis AND "pickleball."

Last year, Waynedale resident Charles Eberhard asked the City Council to urge the Parks Department to make Waynedale the second site in Fort Wayne for pickleball. The other "dual-striped" courts are at Lions Park on the north side of Fort Wayne. I conveyed the request to Al Moll, our Parks Director, and the striping was completed in time for the Waynedale Community picnic.

You might be wondering, "What exactly is pickleball?" It is a fast-growing paddle sport that uses something resembling a ping-pong paddle with a waffleball-type tennis ball. The rules and the equipment make it a suitable athletic pursuit for a wide-range of ages and some of the youngest players can quite easily play with older players. It can be played slow or fast.

We look forward to promoting the use of the Waynedale Park for the widest range of uses.

This next Council session I will be introducing two ordinances that dovetail with key local government reforms enacted by this recently completed session of the Indiana state legislature.

These are key reforms and reforms I heartily support. I would like Fort Wayne to be the first city in the state to be in compliance with the new legislation.

The first reform deals with limiting nepotism – that is, the practice of hiring relatives – in the conduct of local government. The legislation seeks to ban the employment of local government workers who are under the direct supervision of a close relative.

The second deals with conflict of interest in the awarding of local government contracts to companies which are either wholly or partially owned by a relative of a local government elected executive or someone in the executive branch, or a relative of the local government's legislative branch or fiscal body.

The relatives include a spouse, a parent or stepparent, a child or stepchild, a brother, sister or step-sibling, a niece or nephew, an aunt or uncle, or a daughter-in-law or son-in-law.

There are provisions that a contract could be entered into if there is full public disclosure of the relationship in a signed and filed statement made under the penalty of perjury and the contract is the result of competitive bidding with the award going to the lowest bidder.

The provisions are contained in House Enrolled Act 1005 and allow ordinances to contain more stringent requirements than the minimum contained in the new statute. I invite citizens for input on further requirements that will give better assurance that local government contracts and employment are separated from special favors, consideration or conflicts of interest.

I will note that we are all fortunate for the leadership of State Senator David Long, the State Senate's President Pro Tem, in state government. As a predecessor in the Council seat I now hold, he is well aware of Waynedale's concerns.

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Mitch Harper
About This Author
He represents the 4th District on Fort Wayne's Common Council. The 4th District includes Waynedale, Time Corners and Aboite. He was first elected in 2007 and was reelected in 2011. Mitch writes articles periodically for the newspaper.
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