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Buttigieg announces 2014 deployment

Observer Staff Report | Thursday, September 12, 2013

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon that he has been called to active duty with the U.S. Navy and will be deployed to Afghanistan next year.

A report from ABC News said the mayor will be on active duty from Feb. 28, 2014, until Sept. 30, 2014. Buttigieg was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy Reserve in 2009 and holds the rank Lieutenant Junior Grade, the report stated.

At the press conference, Buttigieg named City Controller Mark Neal as deputy mayor for the duration of his deployment. Indiana law (Indiana Code section 5-6-2) holds that a mayor called to active duty is not considered to have vacated his office and so can name a deputy mayor in his absence. The deputy mayor, then, is to perform the mayor’s duties during his deployment.

“My primary responsibility and focus every day is to lead South Bend forward,” Buttigieg said at the press conference. “At the same time, as a military officer I have made a commitment to our country, and my orders require me to keep that promise by going to Afghanistan next year. I am ready to serve and perform duties I have been training to do for years, and then look forward to coming home to resume the extraordinarily fulfilling and important work of leading our city as mayor.”

As City Controller, Neal’s responsibilities include overseeing the city’s fiscal management, human resources, information technology, purchasing insurance, labor negotiations, the budgeting process and performance management measures, the report said.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, a Notre Dame graduate, released a statement following the announcement, commending Buttigieg’s service.

“There is no greater service than that of our men and women in uniform,” Donnelly said in the statement. “I thank Mayor Pete for his service thus far as an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and I wish him well as he uses his training to serve in Afghanistan next year.

“In Indiana, we have a proud tradition of heeding the call to protect and defend our country, and I thank all Hoosiers who are currently or have previously been a member of our Armed Forces.”