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Gary Common Council President – William G. Godwin, Esq. resigns

Photo caption: William G. Godwin, Esq.

During the August 22, 2023, Gary Common Council meeting, William G. Godwin, Esq., the president and 1st District Councilman resigned. With more than 3 years of service, Godwin’s resignation will be effective Sunday, August 27.

He was first elected Common Council Vice-President in January 2020 by his colleagues. Then, in January 2021 he was elected to serve as Gary’s Council President and again in January 2022. In the last Democratic Primary Election, Godwin ran for one of three at-large council seats but did not win.

He has previously served as a Commissioner of the Gary Port Authority, Board President of the South Shore Chamber of Commerce in Chicago and External Affairs Director for several organizations, as well as Associate Vice-Chancellor of Workforce & Economic Development at the City Colleges of Chicago’s district office.

Godwin, a native of Jackson, Tennessee, is a real estate broker, licensed attorney and author. He is the president and managing broker of Godwin Realty Company, which he founded in 2016. He is a member of the Illinois Bar, Chicago Association of Realtors, and the Southwestern Michigan Association of Realtors. Godwin holds a BA in Sociology from Georgetown University, a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the Chicago Theological Seminar.

At Crusader Press time, Godwin had not announced his specific future plans however, in his official statement he did indicate that his new role would continue to be in public service.

Official resignation statement of Council President William G. Godwin:

Serving as a member of the Gary Common Council over the past three years and 8 months has been the highest honor of my life. I have truly enjoyed serving with each of you, my colleagues, even when we disagreed, in our shared effort to provide strong legislative leadership, solid representation, a voice, for the people of Gary, Indiana. Today, I announce my resignation as President and 1st District Councilman of the Gary Common Council, effective Sunday, August 27, 2023.

This is a bittersweet decision because I fully intended to serve all four years of my term when I was sworn in on January 1, 2020. But as is so often the case, we make plans, and God laughs.

While I’m not yet permitted to disclose the specific details of my plans, I can share that I have accepted a professional opportunity that will broaden my work in public service. This opportunity begins very soon and doesn’t allow me to hold elected office. As soon as I’m authorized to share details about this new opportunity, I most certainly will do so.

While prospects of continuing this amazing journey for another term on the council ended for me a few months ago, my love for and appreciation of the people of this great City who put their faith in me four years ago as a new kid on the block, a transplant not born and raised here, who gave me a chance to lead and to serve will remain a blessing for me that I will never forget.

I’m so proud of the work we’ve done during this term: navigating the unpredictability of COVID, standing up for funding public education even when it cost some of us mightily, making tough choices to increase trash collection rates to balance the Gary Sanitary District’s operating deficit, planning for and appropriating nearly $60M of American Rescue Plan Act funds; Redistricting, yes, redistricting our city to be in compliance with the law achieving a standard deviation between the districts well below the recommended percentage, approving an additional

$3M through ARPA generated savings to expand paving at an unprecedented level in 2022, taking the lead on approving $3.2M for an ongoing jewel parks initiative to ensure a decent park in each of our 6 districts, fighting for, yes, fighting for and not giving up on approving historic increases to police and fire/ems salaries by a combined total of 15% and ensuring public safety pension increases were put in place before the state deadline expired; developing a short term rental ordinance to bring order and accountability within the confines of state law, establishing an official Gary Common Council radio show creating a forum for all council members to share updates on our work, take questions, and engage with the public.

Listening to and responding to residents who pushed us on animal welfare, environmental and zoning justice, mental health, and the needs of small business owners; we have increased base pay for animal control officers and approved funding to improve animal care facilities; we have been a forum for residents to voice their concerns about pollution vis-a-vis economic development; we’ve approved funding for a mobile mental health unit. And, recently, nearly

$2M of small business grants have been awarded to businesses throughout the city. For those who say we haven’t gotten things done that were within our legislative powers, I strongly beg to differ.

We have been vigilant. We have spoken out. We have read and paid close attention to the ordinances before us. While not perfect, we have taken seriously our duty as the fiscal oversight body of this great city. And, just maybe, we’ve come very close to perfecting our audio-visual systems to ensure public access to our meetings in a clear and uninterrupted fashion.

I have spoken with our Vice-President, Councilwoman Tai Adkins, who is ready, willing, and able to fulfill her duty as Vice-President—to serve the balance of this year with the same excellence, preparation, and rigor that we’ve all seen her exhibit with grace, dedication, and focus. I’m so appreciative for her being a rock and a consistent friend in leadership as we’ve made tough choices, dealt with the criticisms that come with leadership, and attempted to establish a culture of legislative excellence. Thank You Councilwoman Tai Adkins! I’m also very thankful to our dedicated council office staff without whom none of what we have achieved would be possible.

As I reflect on our work this term, and I prepare to turn the page on a new chapter in my career, I’m reminded of words once spoken by the late Senator Ted Kennedy: “For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.” I’m excited about the future of Gary, and I stand ready to help in any way I can as a private citizen.

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