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After heart attack, Peru mayor declared unable to serve in office

Council president appointed as interim mayor
Peru Mayor Miles Hewitt
Posted at 10:32 PM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 22:44:05-04

PERU — A Miami County judge ruled Wednesday that the mayor of Peru is unable to serve in public office after he suffered a heart attack last month.

The office of Mayor — which until today was held by Miles Hewitt — will be held in the interim by Peru City Council President Pro Tempe Patricia Russell, per a court order.

"Due to certain unfortunate ongoing health-related issues, Mayor Hewitt currently is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office of Mayor of the City of Peru," the order states.

The ruling followed a petition submitted Tuesday by Russell asking Judge Timothy Spahr to appoint her as interim mayor due to Hewitt's health.

The Mayor's Office said in a public Facebook post earlier this month that Hewitt suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized April 29.

Under Indiana Code, Russell will serve as interim mayor for up to six months from Wednesday, according to the court order.

Patricia Russell is sworn into the office of Mayor Wednesday.

The order states that Hewitt may file a written declaration if he believes he is once again able to serve. Should he do so, a court hearing must be held within 48 hours to decide whether he will be able to serve again.

"Because there is no Deputy Mayor in the City of Peru, by Indiana Code the next city official in the line of succession is the Peru Common Council President Pro Tempore. Councilwoman Russell makes it clear that she is fulfilling her obligation to the citizens of Peru, to ensure that there is continuity at this time of uncertainty," the Mayor's Office said in a statement.

The Mayor's Office said the move was necessary due to "time-sensitive documents" and other business.

"Councilwoman Russell wishes Mayor Hewitt a speedy recovery and would like everyone to keep their thoughts and prayers with him and his family. As soon as he recovers, Acting Mayor Russell will gladly turn the City back over to him," the Mayor's Office wrote.

Hewitt was elected in 2019 and took office Jan. 1, 2020.

WRTV has reached out to both Russell and Hewitt for comment.