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Mayor Tom Henry talks new jail, OWI, and council relationships in one on one interview

Tom Henry For Mayor

Before giving his annual State of the City address, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry sat down in his office for an exclusive one-on-one interview with WBOI.

The topics ranged from a recap of 2022 and a preview of 2023 to his OWI arrest to the new Allen County correctional facility.

Henry said 2022 was a year of "exceptional growth" for the City of Fort Wayne and marked a "tremendous" turnaround from the struggles the COVID-19 pandemic brought. He's not quite on board with President Joe Biden's declaration of an end to the pandemic, however.

Henry said while consistent mask mandates may no longer be necessary, constant good hygiene and awareness of viruses out there are "paramount" to public safety.

Henry answered questions about his October OWI arrest.

He said the later months of 2022 brought some personal challenges, one being that he "overindulged and got behind the wheel," the other being his wife's pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Henry has declined interviews about his OWI in the past, but chose to answer our questions. He again sang the praises of the responding officers. He has spoken to some of them and put their fears of being fired, which were seen on the bodycam video released in December, to rest.

Henry said some of the officers were "rookies and didn't know I don't have the authority to fire them."

Henry also responded to Republican City Councilman Jason Arp's demands to see the arrest video before it was released and calls for an investigation into the arrest.

"Jason and I have had our differences," Henry, a Democrat, said. "He is a very fundamentally conservative person, almost to an obsession. And I'm not so sure that that doesn't show somewhat of a weakness, as well as perhaps a strain."

Henry said he is most looking forward to continued development in both the economy and infrastructure in 2023.

Tony Sandleben joined the WBOI News team in September of 2022.