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Ballard, Hogsett promise smooth transition as questions loom over top administration picks

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INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 4, 2015) – Indianapolis mayor-elect Joe Hogsett stood alongside current Mayor Greg Ballard Wednesday morning, promising a smooth transition after Tuesday’s election.

Hogsett, a Democrat, beat Republican businessman Chuck Brewer, receiving about 62 percent of the vote.

“We share critical information,” Ballard said of the transition. “We make sure the essential city services continue on through the transition.”

Hogsett promised he wouldn’t roll back or defund any Ballard-created programs or initiatives, a tradition he said dated back several administrations.

But what he didn’t promise was to keep Metro Police Chief Rick Hite.

“Making decisions about who the next police chief and public safety director would be certainly were premature before 6:00 last night,” Hogsett said. “We’re now about 12 hours or so later, and I’m in a position to give that more thought.”

With more than 100 murders and 18 officer-involved shootings in 2015, tackling the city’s crime Hogsett campaigned on as the city’s urgent, pressing issue. And who he picks to lead that effort will have dramatic implications for years to come.

“I think the real question is going to be what’s the deliberative process we go through to get there?” Rick Snyder said, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police. "Night after night after night - murders and violence in our city - we cannot have that."

Hogsett said he will consult Hite, along with interim public safety director Dave Wantz, former director Troy Riggs, rank-and-file members of the metro police department and community leaders.

“Neighborhood groups that have concerns about how well or how not so well IMPD has been responding to their concerns,” he said.

Hogsett has an advantage Ballard didn’t. Democrats maintained control of the city-county council Tuesday, paving the way for an easier time passing an agenda that will control the social and economic issues facing the city.

"For example in extending civil rights protections not only beyond the borders of Marion County but to all Hoosiers," Hogsett said.

After each of the council’s 25 districts were redrawn, Democrats will hold a 13-12 majority.

“I think anyone will be able to work with this mayor,” Republican councilor Michael McQuillen said. “I think it will be a bipartisan effort.”

Analysts were watching the council makeup just as closely as the mayoral results.

“It makes it easier for him in some ways,” Indy Star columnist Tim Swarens said. “Although controlling a Democratic council could be a real challenge for a new mayor. They’re going to have some ideas of their own, and whether that coincides with Joe Hogsett’s agenda, we’ll wait and see.”