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Lewes, Delaware
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July 31, 2012     Cape Gazette
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July 31, 2012
 

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Cape Gazette NEWS TUESDAY, JULY 31- THURSDAY AUGUST 2. 2012 9 Friends of Dewey founder announces run for council Campbell says town needs new leadership A familiar face in Dewey Beach is aiming to make a few changes in the town's govern- ment. Resident Denise Camp- bell announced her candidacy for Dewey Beach Town Council july 27. "I'm running for town council to change the way Dewey Beach's government op- erates," Camp- bell said. "We need smart, new leadership to bring property owners, busi- Denise Campbell nesses owners and visitors together to improve our community," she said. "We must work together to keep our streets safe, bring financial sta- bility to our town and raise prop- erty values." Campbell is a cofounder of community group Friends of Dewey. In a July 27 statement, she said she planned to step down as president of the group. "While I enjoy every aspect of my involvement with Friends of Dewey, unfortunately I will have to announce my stepping aside as president of this great com- munity organization so as to eliminate any potential conflict of interest," Campbell wrote. David Ferry, another co- founder of Friends of Dewey and a candidate in last year's town council election, will take over as interim president, Campbell said. Campbell is also former chair- woman of the town marketing committee. This is her first time running for a seat on town coun- cil. In a press release, Campbell said, "Dewey Beach is a special place, and like most residents, I am concerned by recent devel- opments that undermined the public's trust in our local lead- ers." Dewey Beach Town Council was cited by the Delaware Attor- ney General's Office July 13 for committing 28 Freedom of Infor- mation Act violations. Town Manager Bob Stickels resigned only two weeks after the opinion was issued. Stickels had taken the job in April on an 18-month contract. "We need a town government that is focused on building con- sensus and getting things done to improve Dewey Beach. It has al- ways been my approach in busi- ness and in life to identify prob- lems and to pull people together to work on solutions and that's exactly what I'll do if the voters elect me to town council," Campbell said. Originally from Dexter, Mich., Campbell has lived in Dewey Beach with her husband, Mark Allen for six years. She works as a project director for Oxford Strategic Marketing and serves as a board member at Lil' Drug Store Products, a multimillion- dollar firm located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Dewey Continued from page 1 In a 3-2 vote, council decided it would make all minutes of exec- utive session meetings held since Jan. 15, 2011 available to the attor: ney general and to the public. Commissioners also voted to conform to the attorney gener- al's standards for noticing and conducting meetings. Council also voted to ask the Attorney General's Office to re- word its opinion, taking into ac- count that Dewey commission- ers acted in good faith and under the advice of counsel when noticing and conducting all 28 meetings fotmd to have violated Freedom of InformationAct laws. Mayor Diane Hanson pro- posed voiding all votes taken af- ter executive session meetings since January 2011. Hanson said council should discuss the issues in public, accept public com- ment and re-vote on every issue discussed in a closed-door meet- ing. But Town Attorney Fred Townsend said council does not have the authority to undo any of the policies that have been en- acted at previous meetings. "There needs to be a consensus that we're not undoing anything tonight," Townsend said. Commissioners Jim Laird and Marty Seitz voted against releas- ing executive session minutes to the public. "Sound to me like we wan to s'eize an opportunity," Laird said. Laird and Seitz voted to ap- prove a Feb. 26, 2011 agreement between the town and developer Dewey Beach Enterprises to re- develop the Ruddertowne site in excess of the town's 35-foot height limit. The issue was a point of contention for years be- fore it was voted on. HanSon was the only member of council to vote against the agreement. Minutes of the closed-door meeting held minutes prior to the v, ote on the agreement will become public under council's vote. Commissioners Anna Legates and Joy Howell, who were not on council when the agreement with DBE was approved, spoke publicly in opposition to its ap- proval. Howell is a cofounder of Citizens to Preserve Dewey, a group that formed in 2007 to push for a referendum vote on the fate of the Ruddertowne site. According (o Delaware law, any citizen can challenge the ac- tions of town council in a Court of Chancery up to six months af- ter the action is taken or within 60 days of the citizen's learning of the action. Delaware Coalition for Open Government'President John Fla- herty wrote a July 27 letter say- ing he disagreed with statements made by the attorney general. Howell read the letter at the close of council's July 27 meet, ing. Flaherty states DelCOG sup- ported CPD in its battle against DBE over the fate of the Rudder- towne site. Flaherty said the Ru ldertowne decision was ap- proved unlawfully during a closed-door meeting. "The deputy missed those violations and did not bother to note that he was writing about two differ- ent town councils," he wrote. Flaherty said the Attorney General's Office did not call wit- nesses or allow testimony before issuing its opinion. "In other words, members of the Dewey Beach Town Council have had no real chance to defend them- selves," he wrote. In the letter, Flaherty said he could recall no other time a pub- lic body was asked to sign a con- fession based on the assumption that it acted in bad faith because it had a lot of executive sessions. Flaherty said the AG seemed to ignore Townsend's March 6 re- sponse to Tush's complaint, in which Townsend gives reasons, including job interviews, for each meeting held behind closed doors. "Privacy is an important consideration that trumps trans- parency sometimes," he wrote. Flaherty also said the Attorney General's Office answered a FOIA complaint last year that said town council was noticing its meetings properly. "So we hope the attorney general will listen to the Dewey Town Coun- cil's side of the story before he undertakes further action," Fla- herty wrote. Executive session meeting minutes are scheduled to appear on the town's website. For more information, visit townofdewey- beach.com. JEWELERS AND D VIIOAID CENTER We've Served in the Area for Over 25 Years Pelican Square, Rt. I Belween Superfresh & Marshalls Rehobolh Beach DE * 302-645-0305 Campbell holds a bachelor's Avenue. degree with high honors and a Residents, property owners master's degree from University and leaseholders of five years or of Michigan. more are eligible to vote. Voters Dewey Beach Town Council can request an absentee ballot elections will be held Tuesday, from the Dewey Beach Town Sept.15, at the Dewey Beach Life- Hall on Rodney Avenue prior to saving Station on Dagsworthy Tuesday, Sept. 15. Stop By and See New Selections of Gemstone Pendants, Earrings & Rings 14K Yellow & White Gold Also New Sterling Silver Line Creations Larimar Chalcedony, Drusy Quartz Large selection of ZABLE beads & charms ARRANGP_M P_NT.5 Turn your GOLD into CASH Gold prices are going down but we still pay the highest prices. Must have valid I.D. Arran ernents of Lewes Has Moved! We are still in the Villages of Five Points. Our new location is 33322-45 E, Chesa peake St. (302) 644-9339