The newly elected Fort Wayne City Council vice president publicly addressed questions he’s received about the Democrats’ support of a Republican council president.
Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, was nominated for council president by Councilman Glynn Hines, D-at large. With the four Democrat members’ support, Arp won the leadership position over Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, who was supported by the rest of the council’s Republicans.
Hines was then approved as vice president after being nominated by Arp.
Allen County Republican Chairman Steve Shine and Jehl criticized Arp, with Shine calling his and the Democrats’ partnership “disingenuous.”
Hines was the council’s acting president Tuesday in Arp’s absence, and he addressed the criticism during his closing comments.
“I’ve always pushed for what I call bipartisan leadership,” said Hines, who has been on City Council for more than 22 years. “I think it looks rather unique when you have, particularly now that its 5-4, you have two parties that are very close to each other in philosophy. There’s some outliers on both ends, but for the most part, we agree on a lot of the decisions.”
Councilman Paul Ensley, R-1st, was president last year, and Hines said he and the Democrats were impressed with how well he did in the position “based on some of the ways that he had voted.” Arp deserves the same chance, Hines said.
“We’re going to disagree on controversial issues,” Hines said. “Left, I’m about as liberal and progressive as it gets, and well, we know what Jason is.”
Hines said he hopes the change in leadership will set the tone for a productive year with bipartisanship in all decisions.