July 17, 2023 - This morning, Mayor Tom Henry submitted the following veto message to members of Fort Wayne Common Council:
I am vetoing G-23-06-42 as amended, which seeks to set term limits for mayoral appointments to the City’s boards and commissions. The City Council is free to set term limits for its own appointments, but this legislative overreach by Council violates the established principle of the separation of powers.
For some time, Council has been preoccupied with the number of board and commission appointments made by the Mayor, many of which appointments are required by state statute. To ensure efficient governing of the city, state law requires the Mayor 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. As this bill takes into account all time served before January 1, 2024, the engagement of a number of dedicated citizens who have freely and generously given of their time and talent to serve our City would be lost.
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. The bill proposed by City Council restricts my ability to appoint qualified people to serve our community by setting arbitrary limits on their terms of service. Thus, I must veto this ordinance as it limits me from discharging the executive functions I was elected to perform.