Judge finds ailing Peru mayor unfit, names council prez to serve

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A north central Indiana judge determined a hospitalized mayor was unfit for office Wednesday and appointed the city’s council president to be acting mayor.

Peru Mayor Miles Hewitt is still recuperating at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne following a heart attack on April 29.

Hewitt was recently taken off a ventilator, but has trouble speaking and writing, so he can’t conduct any official business, City Council President Patricia Russell told Miami Circuit Court Judge Tim Spahr.

That has become an issue with deadlines looming on grants and other documents that required the mayor’s signature, leading Russell to file a petition to serve as interim mayor, the Kokomo Tribune reported.

City Clerk-Treasurer Susan Rylands said in an interview after the hearing that there are around a dozen documents that need signed immediately, including a grant to help pay for a police car.

Russell now has the legal authority to sign those documents and carry out any other work or duties required by the mayor.

“When this is over, I will gladly give him back his city,” Russell said in court, drawing laughter from the gallery.

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