Hogsett taps former Lt. Gov. Davis as ‘city systems engineer’

Mayor-elect Joe Hogsett on Thursday tapped local pastor David Hampton and not-for-profit director Jeff Bennett to serve, respectively, as deputy mayors for neighborhood engagement and community development in his new administration.

Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis will also join the administration, but her position and tenure at the incoming mayor’s office are a little less certain.

Hogsett announced that Davis will spearhead an effort to analyze and reform the city’s financial and information systems—a big job for a city with a multi-million dollar structural budget deficit.

But she doesn’t have an official title in the new administration and it’s unclear who will pay her salary or how long she will stay on in that capacity.

Hogsett and Davis quipped at a press conference that she should be thought of as a “city systems engineer” because of her ability to solve tough problems.

“If I had my druthers, Kathy Davis would be part of the administration as long as I’m mayor,” Hogsett said. “We haven’t talked about the length.”

More important than her title, Davis said, is the magnitude of the challenge she’s been asked to help fix. She noted that property-tax caps have resulted in the city and county losing about $50 million in revenue each year. Since then, mayors have found “one-time ways” to fund city budgets, she said.

“The city has drawn from savings, sold revenues from parking meters and sold business of our sewer and water systems,” Davis said. “That’s about to catch up on us. It’s not sustainable. We need a plan to get our expenses and revenues back in line so we can operate from a position of strength and not be in a constant mode of scrambling to fund our budget.”

A new city controller has yet to be named. Hogsett said that announcement is forthcoming.

Hampton, a pastor at Light of the World Christian Church, will continue to serve at the church but take on a full-time role at the city as the deputy mayor for neighborhood engagement. Hampton, who has known Hogsett since their time together as classmates at Christian Theological Seminary, will seek to “improve community outreach and communication.”

“As a religious leader and civic leader, this is a wonderful opportunity to mesh that work and be a benefit as a servant to my church but in an expanded role here in the city,” Hampton said.

Jeff Bennett, a former Warren Township Trustee who is director of real estate services for not-for-profit community development firm IFF, will become deputy mayor for community development.

Hogsett said Bennett will work to “restructure and coordinate city departments to better serve neighborhoods.”

“Too many parts of Indianapolis feel left behind, abandoned, or altogether forgotten by City Hall,” Hogsett said.

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