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Referendum to Reduce Number of County Commissioners Fails to Pass

Written by: Communicator StaffNovember 14, 2014

Cooper Hood

Over 70 percent of Allen County citizens voted against a proposed referendum on Tuesday to reduce the number of county commissioners from three to one.

Votes were tallied at 46,776 of 66,256 against the proposal to change the current format.

The proposed referendum would have also expanded the Allen County Council from seven to nine.

Nelson Peters, the first district Allen County commissioner, and Therese Brown, the second district Allen County commissioner, said they were not surprised by the outcome of the vote. Brown, who was in favor of keeping three commissioners, said she was not sure why there was such a large disparity in voting.

Peters, currently in his third term as commissioner, said one commissioner would speed up the decision making process of the council. Peters said the current decision making process is “clunky” and there is a reason we only have one president and one mayor.

Peters, Brown, and Linda Bloom, the third district Allen County commissioner, held a press conference Thursday morning to address the results. They invited Greater Fort Wayne Inc., President of Do It Best Corp. Bob Taylor, and Roger Hadley to join them “at a future date” and see what improvements can be made to the council and their process.

Hadley, a member of Allen County No to One, was one of the more outspoken critics of the referendum leading up to the vote. He said there are not many changes that need to happen as he thinks the system is not broken.

Hadley said “I am very happy that the voters saw it the way we did.”

Brown said those who were outspoken against the referendum “wanted the representation, they wanted accessibility to their elected officials.” She also said three commissioners are more transparent than one.

Hadley said he wants the commissioners to meet more often and for them to communicate better, something Nelson Peters has not been pleased with.

Peters and Brown said the commissioners need to gain the proper amount of authority they need to make the changes citizens want.

Brown said it speaks to county government and people understanding what the commissioners have authority to do.