Ballard to appoint Olgen Williams as deputy mayor - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Ballard to appoint Olgen Williams as deputy mayor

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Mayor-elect Greg Ballard Mayor-elect Greg Ballard
Rev. Olgen Williams Rev. Olgen Williams

Mary Milz/Eyewitness News

Marion County - Indianapolis Mayor-elect Greg Ballard is choosing his top lieutenants to help lead the city. Ballard will appoint Olgen Williams as deputy mayor of neighborhoods. The official announcement is due Friday, but Rev. Williams confirmed it with Eyewitness News Thursday.

Olgen Williams is a long-time community activist. He has run the Christamore House on the city's west side for nearly 12 years. He has also organized many marches to take back the streets, and now he will fulfill a new role as deputy mayor of neighborhoods under Mayor-elect Greg Ballard.

"I think he has a vision to build neighborhoods up to work with education and I'd love to be part of that team," said Rev. Williams.

While Williams will double his salary from roughly $48,000 to $95,000, he leaves Christamore House with mixed emotions.

"I love the Christamore House. It's part of me. Christamore House gave me a second chance when I was down," said Williams.

A former drug-user and ex-convict, he says it helped him turn his life around and focus on helping others. Williams says the work he's done at Christamore should serve him well in his new position.

"I believe in being inclusive. We've got to address every neighborhood in all corners of the city and see what the needs are. Some are greater than others and hopefully the stronger can help the weaker," said Rev. Williams.

Williams, 59, says he is excited about having the opportunity to make a difference, and while he has no agenda yet, he is most interested in strengthening neighborhoods and keeping them safe, and in faith-based initiatives.

Williams describes himself as non-political. A picture with and letter from Mayor Bart Peterson hangs in the hallway. He says while he didn't campaign for Ballard, he did vote for him.

While Williams doesn't have anything against Mayor Peterson, he says he thought it was time for change.

Ballard, preparing for next week's swearing in at the War Memorial, says he'll name other members of his inner circle Friday morning. He says he's looked for people "that would work for the citizens of Indianapolis; not come in with a special agenda, just doing the right thing for the city, because I've told everyone that's what we're doing it for."

Williams is also a member of the Indianapolis Public Schools board. Under state law that's a position from which he'll now have to resign.

Williams is just one of nine or ten top-level administrative appointments who will be formally announced Friday.

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