Former Mayor Kernan speaks out about South Bend Council's in-fig - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Former Mayor Kernan speaks out about South Bend Council's in-fighting

Former South Bend Mayor and Indiana Governor Joe Kernan voices his disappointment in the Common Council Former South Bend Mayor and Indiana Governor Joe Kernan voices his disappointment in the Common Council

"It's a waste of time, effort, energy, resources, money...and it's not acceptable," former South Bend Mayor and Indiana Governor Joe Kernan said. Kernan says he's speaking out now because Councilman Henry Davis Jr.'s controversial social media postings "pushed him over the edge". Kernan was surrounded by former members of his administration as he spoke. 

"It...has the serious, in my view, impact, again, of undermining trust between local government and the members of the community," Kernan said. 

Councilman Davis, Jr. was the target of a council investigation after he posted an obscene image on Facebook. The council ultimately took no action. More recently he and Councilman Derek Dieter, in particular, have been involved in a well-publicized spat. 

Kernan says the Council needs to work better with the Mayor's office and he complemented Deputy Mayor Mark Neal on his work. Kernan also says he's worried the Council's behavior could drive out businesses looking to make their homes in the city.

"It can cost us the opportunity to even take a crack at convincing them that this is a good place to do business," Kernan said. 

But some Common Council members say this kind of turbulence isn't getting in the way of their work.

"We're carrying out the 2014 budget. We're carrying out everything that's in the preparation of us preparing the 2015 budget. We have the best animal control bill that the City has seen," said Common Council President Oliver Davis. 

Kernan clearly doesn't agree. The next election cycle is a year away and Kernan says that's too long to wait for change. 

"I don't know if they need a focus group or if they need to get some counseling or whatever it might be, but it's going to have to be their call. If they don't want to do it, they're not going to do it. And that's where you start," Joe Kernan said. 

Henry Davis, Jr. didn't return calls for comment. Councilman Derek Dieter, who was one of the biggest advocates for punishing Davis, Jr., was at the meeting and says he disagrees with Kernan's criticism of the Common Council. 

"I think to totally throw the Council under the's his press conference so he can say what he wants. I just don't agree with it," Councilman Dieter said. 

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