A group of local neighborhood leaders and several staff members from the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division recently participated in the Regional Neighborhood Network Conference (RNNC) in Evansville. This year’s theme was “Neighborhoods: Where Life Happens.”

The RNNC is comprised of neighborhood representatives from Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s designed for grassroots, corporate, government, foundation, faith-based and non-profit leaders who are dedicated to improving the quality of life in their communities.

The conference offered community leaders the opportunity to obtain training and access information needed to reinforce their leadership skills and make suggestions to city government. The RNNC is in its 31st year of providing best practices workshops for neighborhood advocates and representatives. In addition, keynote speakers shared concepts on how to move cities forward in a meaningful way.

Fort Wayne is home to more than 400 neighborhood associations. Neighborhoods are the backbone of Fort Wayne, and I continue to be encouraged by the dedication of our neighborhood leaders as they work together to enhance each neighborhood in our City. I appreciate their commitment and desire to make a difference in our community.

Speaking of neighborhoods and meeting the needs of residents, Eric Harris has been appointed as the new director of the 311 Call Center and Citizen Services Department.

Prior to his new leadership position, Eric served with Fort Wayne City Utilities. From 1992-2012, he was an audit specialist. From 2012-2017, he was assistant manager of data control.

Eric is a trusted and respected professional with excellent communication skills and a tremendous work ethic. We’re fortunate to have him lead our 311 efforts as we work each day to provide the best services possible to you.

We launched the 311 program in 2007 to make government more accessible and responsive to the needs of residents, businesses and visitors. Through the Citizen Services Department, we engage with the public to make improvements and measure departmental service performance. The innovative program collects the community’s voice, empowering residents to help drive change.

Since its inception, the call center has handled more than 1.5 million calls. The services provided by 311 have continued to expand as Citizen Services currently assists 23 City departments. The 311 call center is consistently recognized as a national leader in providing excellent customer service.

I also wanted you to know that our commitment to public safety continues with the addition of seven lateral officers to the Fort Wayne Police Department. Six males and one female have started their abbreviated training. Five of the officers come from departments within Indiana. The other two officers are from outside Indiana. The first officer is from the Fayetteville North Carolina Police Department and the second from the DeKalb County Georgia Police Department. All seven lateral officers bring several combined years of law enforcement experience to our department.

Public safety is a top priority as we strive to be the best and safest community possible. We’re encouraged to have the lateral officers committed to being part of our department. Their expertise and professionalism will assist in the tremendous work that our current officers perform each day to serve and protect all of us.

Tom Henry - Fort Wayne Mayor

A lifelong Fort Wayne resident, Mayor Thomas C. Henry is committed to public and community service. He was elected to his first term as Fort Wayne's Mayor November 6, 2007. Mayor Henry authors the "Message from the Mayor" column. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer