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Lewes, Delaware
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August 20, 1993     Cape Gazette
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August 20, 1993
 

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8- CAPE GAZEqTIE, Friday, August 20 - August 26, 1993 I" Commentary Lighthouse Restauront at Lewes For the summer of 1993 The Lighthouse Is the Righthouse forLocals & Visitors alike. Only The Lighthouse at Fisherman's Wharf Is offering specials like Tuesday's I/2 price Bar menu, Thursday's Happy Hour on the Harbor with a DJ followed by Baby's Blues 7-I I; BBQ Thurs.-Sun. 4-8; VIP Specials are featured every month. ; Stop off and take a famous, oversized sticky bun on the way home from The Greenhouse Bakery. The Lighthouse at Lewes. Check us out! There's a lot going on here! JOIN US FOR THE WRTERFRONT FIRTS TIVRL Saturday, Aug. 21 & Sunday, Aug. 22 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Nautical vendors and exhibitor Demonstrations Catch 'em Clean 'em ,,. Cook 'em ? , Antiques, Crafts Waterfront Photo Exhibit Entertainment Continued from page 6 that specifically the fire of Assis- tant Treasurer is not listed in the City Charter as an office. She is incorrect in accusing myself and other members of the City Council in violating the City Charter. Sec- tion 8, Subsection (b), Organiza- tion and Annual meeting of Coun- cil, states "at this annual meeting held on the first Regular meeting following the annual municipal election, the City Council shall organize and elect, by ballot, a Deputy Mayor, who shall hold office for the term of one year or until the first Regular meeting -ffter the next municipal election. lt shall also choose an Assistant Secretary (currently Linda Evans) to serve as aforesaid, who may or may not be from among its own members, and such other officers and employees-as may bedeter- mined to be necessary." This wording allows the Mayor and Council to not seek a Charter change through State Legislation if they feel the need to establish a particular office with the changing times. Mrs. Sheehan failed to communicate the entire picture. Mrs. Sheehan criticized Council (of which she is a member) for spending $88,000 on the Roadline Avenue fix. She did not vote against this motion. She is a part of her own criticism. The vote was, and in the order which it was called, Ford and Smith in favor, Pratt against, Sheehan abstains. Her abstention allowed the motion to pass. A "nay" vote would have forced the Mayor to decide the outcome of a tie. By abstaining, she essentially voted with the majority. Mrs. Sheehan blatantly criti- cized the City Manager position for the "extended fringe benefits with a thirty-hour work week." The City Manager, in addition to the "thirty-hour work week," spends countless hours preparing for and attending such meetings as regular and special meetings of the Mayor and City Council, Planning Commission, workshops, assess- ment hearings, S.C.A.T. Meet- ings, Delaware League of Local Governments meetings, as well as serving on appointed committees. This was evident by her atten- dance at the August 9th meeting during the reading of Mrs. Shee- han's statement. Many times she has taken minutes at meetings to substitute for others, and has not charged the City for this service. Mrs. Sheehan is correct that the City Manager gets 24 days vaca- tion each year. This is true for any employee of the City with twenty years of service. How many vaca- tion days over the last three years has the City Manager taken? Six- teen out of possible seventy two. When Ms. Bisbee first became City Manager in 1984, the Reserve Funds were approximate- ly $646,000. Today we have $2.8 million. She must have helped do something right. In May of 1984, when appointed City Manager, Elaine Bisbee also was incorrectly appointed City Treasurer. Upon realization of this error, a correc- tion was immediately made on June 11, 1984 and the City appointed John Rhodes as City Treasurer. Mrs. Sheehan was told this on the day of the University of Delaware Annexation Election, April 23, 1993. During my 15 months on Council, Elaine Bisbee has always provided me with answers to my questions directly or in the immediate future, acting in a professional nmnner. She is a dedicated, extremely hard work- ing employee who probably saves the City the financial equivalent to her salary each year with the knowledge and experience she has acquired. She has constantly shopped prices to-get the best insurance and investment rates, grouped bond coverage to reduce premiums, guided proper proce- dural techniques to keep costs such as required mlvertising and legal fees down, etc. Residents of Lewes should be extremely pleased to have an entire administrative staff as dedi- cated and hard woddng as we do, spearheaded by an outstanding City Manager. To attempt to pub- licly humiliate and embarrass this City offficial was not totally out of line, but was also diminishing to Ms. Bisbee's role as a leader in the eyes of her subordhtmes. Mrs. Sheehan criticized the overrides on the lmdgets for the past four years. The budget is an estimate, a guideline. How much money will the City take in from parking meters aml fines? How many lots at Cape Shores will sell? How much overtime will the police department work? These are a few of the mny variables. The budget is an edlncated guess to provide guidelines to spending. The Annual Audited Financial Statement is the real indicator of the City's financial picture. Mrs. Sheehan has been told this but seemingly does not grasp this. In 1988 the City reserves were $2.8 million. In 1992 the City reserves were $2.8 million. Granted, monies have been generated dur- ing the four year period that were spent instead of invested into City reserves, but the monies were spent on Capital lmlm)vements to benefit the year-rmmd residents and/or tourist population, which is so vital to the economy of the City. There is no doubt that fiscal spending should be closely moni- tore& Lewes has a finite amount of income generated from an agreement with Ca Shores. This money should not be squandered, and maybe the Mayor and Council should take a hard look at future expenditures such as street improvements. Perhaps upon entering Phase IV of the street improvements, the Mayor, Coun- cil and public feel emmgh finances havebeen spent and it is time to pause for a review. The City has maintained a figur of $2 million for a bottom line. We currently stand at $2.8 million. Mrs. Shee- hart said, "Plans me being drawn now for an addition to the school, how much will this cost?" It will cost the City of Lewes nothing. In reference to the applause Mrs. Sheehan received after her statement, what type of tierson can applaud a falsified, misrepresent- ed, rambling statement of accusa- tions, yet not attend and applaud a tremendous presentation by Chair- man Joe Baker at the Workshop meeting for the report of the sub- committees on the Long Range Plan Implementation Committee? Excluding members of the Coun- cil, Committee Members and the Press, there were three people from the public in attendance. Where were all the "concerned" citizens who applauded Mrs. Sheehan at the August 9th meet- ing? These people did not attend and support a meeting that con- tained a volume of information aimed at guiding the city in a posi- tive direction for the future, and was presented to the public in a highly professional manner by Mr. Baker. There are many other falsi- fications in Mrs. Sheehan's state- ment, and to analyze each one, piece by piece, becomes too lengthy. The bottom line is this: All members of the Council and the Mayor are unpaid volunteers. With the exception of the Mayor, we are not in an office at City Hall during working hours. I have a finite amount of time to contribute to my role as a member of the Council due to commitments to my family, my job, etc. Because of misrepresentation and false accusations towards myself and the City, I find the majority of my time allotted to City business being spent clarifying points of the past or points of irrelevancy. If the citizens of Lewes, in particular Mrs. Sheehan and her supporters, feel this is in the best interest of the City, they will continue to feed the falsified, negative image of Lewes to the public and the press. As an elected official, all mem- bers take an oath and have certain ethics by which they have to abide. The out-of-context ribbing and ridiculing of the City govern- ment and its employees taints the image of the volunteers in govern- ment, the volunteers on commit- tees, the City employees, and all the people of Lewes. Certain pro- tocol, procedures and ethical prac- tices are mandatory for an elected City official. Mrs. Sheehan's bla- tant unannounced attack with her statement on August 9th violated these practices. I simply ask Mrs. Sheehan to use tactics as were demonstrated August 9th  as a last resort when she has not been able to communicate her thoughts and ideas to her peers in a profes- sional, acceptable manner. Lewes has many tremendous attributes that are constantly shoved to the rear in light of nega- tivity. The constant pounding of Lewes and its government could soon evoke an image of this City that is detrimental to its character, its people and its economy. Let us prove to the public that in the proper manner, with proper, ethi- cal procedures, we can move for- ward into the next century with a positive outlook and approach to government and management, rather than delving into the past to attempt to reveal some negative, grave injustice by presenting lim- ited, edited information.