Commentary by Larry Lannan
Fishers has completed six months as a city. How has the first half-year gone for the new city government? I would give it high marks.
Mayor Scott Fadness served as town manager before the change. Since he hired most of the management officials in the old town, those people just continued in their same jobs.
Normally, when there is a new mayor, department heads and other top city managers are replaced by the new mayor. That didn’t happen here, allowing the transition from town to city relatively seamless.
Mayor Fadness is becoming much more comfortable in his mayoral role, based on my observations. As a town manager, he reported to the town council. As mayor, it is his job to manage the city.
The city council is also adapting to change. The Fishers Town Council made most of the decisions of governing. The city council is limited to a few responsibilities, such as budgets and zoning issues. The council now only meets once a month due to the reduced work load.
Mayor Fadness found out quickly there are only so many hours in a day. Even with his workaholic ways, the new mayor finally realized he needed help. Fadness hired new Deputy Mayor Lea McGrath, and she is just now getting started in her new position.
With community development director Tom Dickey leaving for a private sector position, the new mayor is now doing some reorganizing of the city’s staffing structure.
Mayor Fadness has made one thing clear – he plans to remain in charge of the city’s economic development efforts. When new companies are looking to locate in Fishers, it always makes a better case when the mayor is front and center dealing with the prospects.
Fishers had a big debate in 2012 over what type of local government was best. Voters chose the traditional Indiana city government. So far, it looks like the voters knew what they were doing.