Did City & County Leaders Know GM Was Thinking About Leaving Fort Wayne?

By John W. Davis

September 22, 2011 Updated Sep 22, 2011 at 10:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) Did Allen County and City of Fort Wayne leaders know General Motors was thinking about leaving Fort Wayne?

On Wednesday, Indiana's NewsCenter reported that UAW Region 3 Director Mo Davison told Inside Indiana Business that the Fort Wayne GM Plant competed with two other cities for the recently announce $230 million dollar investment.

Davison said if Fort Wayne did not win the investment, GM would have closed the Fort Wayne plant as early as 2012.

Indiana's NewsCenter is looking into local leaders actually knew how close the GM plant was to leaving Fort Wayne.

Allen County and Fort Wayne leaders did not give any hints to whether they knew or not.

"Our hope, our desire was for General Motors to stay here. Obviously, indications are that they are going invest heavily ($230 million dollars) in our plant. And hopefully not only retain jobs, but grow the plant as well," answered Fort Wayne Mayor Democrat Tom Henry.

Henry added that Fort Wayne has invested hundreds of thousands dollars to help past GM expansion projects.

He said the money was spent primarily on CAD job retraining and new infrastructure like water pipes.

Meanwhile, Peters said on the county level, it is their job to offer up millions in tax incentives so other communities don't have any openings to lure GM away. (The Fort Wayne GM Truck Plant is located outside of Fort Wayne city limits.)

"We've not yet had anybody from the local plant tell us that the investment is indeed coming. But I've gotta believe that we've done everything that we can do to position our self in the best way," said Republican Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters.

Since 1983, GM has made five major investments at their Fort Wayne Truck Plant.

Recently, Allen County and Fort Wayne worked together to cut a deal that GM could not refuse.

That deal resulted in a third shift being added at the plant.

Meanwhile, UAW leaders announced Tuesday that Fort Wayne would receive a $230 million dollar investment to build the next generation of full size pickup trucks.

However, Peters stressed that he is waiting on executives from General Motors to make an official announcement.

"I think if anything adverse did indeed happen, it would be a huge detriment to this community," Peters continued.

"Likewise, you hope for that additional investment, if indeed the rumored investment were to take place I believe it would be the second largest investment that General Motors has made in this community since 1983," Peters emphasized.

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