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Portage Township trustee embraces back-up role for convicted mayor during chamber speech

Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy speaks to members of the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce Thursday.

PORTAGE — Portage Township Trustee Brendan Clancy told those gathered at a luncheon Thursday that his wife's dream man was a tall, handsome brain surgeon.

"Somehow, she ended up with me, which is kind of the boat you ended up in," Clancy, a last-minute fill-in at the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce's luncheon, said.

Former Portage Mayor James Snyder originally was to give his annual State of the City speech at Thursday's Chamber luncheon. Snyder, however, was convicted Feb. 14 of felony charges of bribery and tax obstruction. The conviction automatically removed him from office.

So, Clancy was tapped to give a talk. In his third term as trustee, Clancy, a Democrat, was defeated by Snyder, a Republican, for the mayor's seat in 2015.

City Councilwoman and Acting Mayor Sue Lynch, D-at-large, and City Councilman John Cannon, R-4th, who is the presumptive candidate to fill out Snyder's remaining 10 months, sat at the front table, as Clancy gave a State of the Township address at Woodland Park here.

The two have been working together to run the city since Snyder's conviction. The pair have also launched their independent campaigns for mayor in this year's municipal elections.

"It is nice to see people doing the right thing and moving the city forward," Clancy said after acknowledging Lynch and Cannon.

Clancy told the group that in nine years, his office hasn't purchased vehicles for himself or his staff.

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"We make enough money, we don't need you to pay for our cars," Clancy said.

Clancy told the group running a township is not like running a business.

"It's about governing, doing the right thing. You make your city or your town or your township better, and people are going to want to come here," Clancy said.

Clancy touted accomplishments of his office, including increasing the number of people receiving assistance while the budget was lowered; working with the county on construction of a new building; and having complaint-free State Board of Accounts audits from 2013 to 2016.

"I was so impressed and proud of that," Clancy said, crediting his staff for the achievements.

"I feel like Phil Collins as a coach, and I got five Michael Jordans," Clancy said.

(Editor's note: This story has been edited from its original version.)

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.