City to Part Ways with Homeland Security Dept.

By Max Resnik

February 17, 2012 Updated Feb 17, 2012 at 7:12 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – The City of Fort Wayne will officially cut ties with the Office of Homeland Security beginning in April.

That statement was delivered to the Allen County Commissioners Friday afternoon via a letter from Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry (D). The letter was written per request from the commissioners who asked for greater clarification as to why the city wanted to end the Exchange Services Agreement that made the Office of Homeland Security a joint entity between the City of Fort Wayne and Allen County. The agreement was conceived in 2006.

In the letter, the mayor states that the 6-year-old agreement has created redundancy for the city.

“In the course of the City’s ongoing effort to reduce costs while maximizing the value of services for its taxpayers, the City has determined that the well-intentioned arrangement, conceived by the City and County six years ago for the joint delivery of emergency management services, has created the very duplication of services it was intended to avoid.”

The letter also cites Indiana code saying that it is the responsibility of a county to manage emergency management departments.

“According to Indiana Code 10-14-3, the County has the statutory responsibility to establish and maintain a department of emergency management. Therefore, to better serve the public, the City elects to return to the model for providing emergency services as outlined in State statute and in place prior to the February 15, 2006 agreement.”

As a result of the City’s decision, the position of Director of Homeland Security will now fall under the County’s jurisdiction. To ease the transition, the City will provide the County with $45,000, which is about half of the position’s salary. The City will also give the County the position’s take-home vehicle.

Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters (R) told Indiana’s NewsCenter via telephone that he was disappointed in the mayor’s decision. He says he is not sure what the next step will be for the Office of Homeland Security but said it could undergo some revamping.

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