On Friday, January 10, 2020, Austin Knox was unanimously elected Wayne Township trustee at a caucus of Democratic precinct committee leaders of the township. This followed Richard Stevenson’s retirement from the post last month which he had held for a thirteen-year tenure.
Knox has served as deputy trustee for the past two and a half years and believes in the mission of Trustee Stevenson, which has been to treat every citizen who comes to the township with dignity and respect and to always give the client the benefit of the doubt. In an interview following his election Mr. Knox said, “I love what we do at Wayne Township, and I’m ready to pick up where Trustee Stevenson left off.”
Mr. Knox is a Fort Wayne native who graduated from IPFW with a degree in political science. He had earlier transferred from Trine University where he played wide-receiver for their football team. Mr. Knox grew up in a close-knit family of teachers and sports enthusiasts. His grandfather, Tom Knox, was a well-known basketball referee in Fort Wayne who instilled sportsman-like values in his grandchildren. This background is reflected in Austin’s team-building approach to his supervision of the Wayne Township staff.
In his first staff meeting as trustee, Mr. Knox emphasized that every employee is equally valuable to the operation and deserves the same respect as every other employee. As someone who came up through the ranks (hiring in and working as an investigator for his first two years), Mr. Knox is respected for his fairness and his deep understanding of the work done at the township. As deputy trustee, he was also known for his willingness to pitch in wherever help was needed. For example, to save the township money he led a team of staff and workfare members who did much of the manual labor tearing out and replacing the well-established shrubbery along the north face of the township office building.
Mr. Knox, like his predecessor, is detail-oriented and fueled by a desire to research and understand the law and the Indiana Township Association guidelines before finalizing decisions. “We first want to help those who need it, but we never want to forget that it is taxpayer’s money we are responsible for,” he says.
The staff at Wayne Township wants to welcome our new trustee, Austin Knox, and wish him the best as he leads us on to a bright future of providing a helping hand to those citizens wishing to move from assistance to independence.
Written by SuzAnne Runge, Director of Communications, Wayne Township Trustee Office