Mayor Says City Consultant Can Earn Incentives If More Navistar Jobs Are Saved

By Jeff Neumeyer

September 9, 2010 Updated Sep 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says he has the utmost confidence in a city-hired consultant who is working to salvage treasured jobs tied to the Navistar Corporation.

The mayor made that statement one day after the company touted a $200-million dollar consolidation plan in Illinois.

Part of the job description for a mayor is staying positive about the future of your city, and Henry is holding true to that responsibility.

The democrat on Thursday said consultant Mark Williams has incentives in his contract, that increase his salary based on the number of Navistar jobs that stay in town.

Williams has played the key role for the city in discussions with Navistar officials, who on Wednesday made the announcement that they are consolidating in Northern Illinois, placing their world headquarters in Lisle, and a technology center and new parts facility nearby.

It's feared that most, if not all, the 1,100 to 1,400 Navistar jobs in Fort Wayne could be lost to Illinois.

Henry says he didn't feel slighted that Fort Wayne was never mentioned in the Illinois media event.

Mayor Tom Henry/(D) Fort Wayne: "Navistar has asked and we'll respect that request, to keep a lot of the discussions confidential. So, I don't think we were purposefully left out, we were simply asked to keep things confidential for the time being."

President Tom Burkholder/UAW Local 2911: "I think they finally made the move that they wanted to make to get to the headquarters that they want, so I don't doubt that they're going to pull people up there that are located in Fort Wayne."

Burkholder represents more than 270 engineers and designers who work at the Meyer Road Truck Development and Technology Center, employees who are waiting for more definitive word from management on the future of their jobs.

Burkholder says he's hearing next June or July the company will begin talking more seriously about job re-locations, but his experience tells him the process will take longer than projected timetables, simply because it's such a major task to pull off a consolidation like this.




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