New Wilmington City Administration Starts Today

Filed in National by on January 8, 2013

Dennis Williams is being sworn in this morning as the new Mayor of Wilmington. As the NJ notes this morning, Williams’ is behind the curve in filling out leadership positions (he started in August) and a handful of folks I know working for the city don’t know what jobs they are expected to do.

In the meantime, Williams knows enough about how he wants to expand the Executive Office to have proposed increasing the cost of this office by $470,000. This expansion comes as the city is facing its own fiscal cliff — or at least a million dollar for the coming fiscal year. According to the NJ:

Even with a projected 15 percent tax hike, Wilmington is still facing an anticipated deficit close to $1 million in the next fiscal year, Sears said. The deficit is projected to grow the three years after that, from $3 million in 2015 to $5.5 million in 2016 to $8.1 million in 2017, Sears said.

This 15% tax hike was floated by Bill Montgomery and seems to be an item of faith within the city. Williams committed to not raising taxes while on the campaign trail. So how do you ask for an almost half million dollar operating budget increase when facing this kind of deficit and you aren’t planning on raising taxes? I don’t know, and I wouldn’t count on the City Council (other than Bud Freel) to put this thing through the wringer and do what is best for taxpayers. I’m betting that the City Council will just rollover on this increase (except for Bud Freel) and work to figure out how taxpayers can be on the hook for an expansion of a city government that is pretty big in the first place.

It is important to pay for the government that we want. It is also important to *deliver* the government that we want and it is pretty plain to me that there isn’t much clamoring for adding more executive staff or paying executive staff more money in the city — certainly not without some demonstrated serious improvement in the current operation. And when you are turning over staff, the odds are you will pay more in salary to new hires. But this increase also includes new staff — a thing that I’d think would be alot smarter to do once we are all clear on what we can actually afford in terms of new staff.

And while I’m at it — it is interesting to me that both Wilmington and the State of Delaware finds cause and rationale to increase the salaries of its executive corps. It is almost as though collective bargaining works if the Chief Executive goes to bat for you, but heaven help your salary and collective bargaining position if you aren’t in that Executive’s inner circle.

Williams gives his inaugural speech at tonight’s City Council swearing in. The festivities are at The Grand and start at 6:30 (the reception) and the swearing in begins at 8PM. I think that WDEL usually broadcasts the swearing in and inauguration speeches if you don’t want to go to The Grand.

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  1. anon says:

    I hope soon-to-be Mayor Williams is able to deliver on his promises of reducing crime in the City, I also hope he’s able to achieve his goals without stomping on people’s rights too much. Williams, IMHO, will make a great Mayor if he is able to walk that fine line.

  2. SussexWatcher says:

    This says it all: “Williams did not return a phone message seeking comment.”

    Apparently he’s using the winning arrogance + incompetence strategy.

    Good luck to everyone!

  3. Geezer says:

    anon: I have a hunch people will quickly learn that curbing the murder rate is not the only measure of a mayor.

    If Wilmington cuts its murder rate from the high 20s per year to the high teens per year, are you going to consider it some sort of triumph?

  4. AGovernor says:

    It is interesting the new Mayor has not commented much on any of the appointments he has made. All he had to say about the Police Chief was he changed his mind.

    It is also interesting to this reader that so many appointments have yet to be announced. Not sure what he is waiting for.

    And this increase in the Mayor’s office does not sit well. I thought the Mayor’s office was overloaded already. Where is the money coming from? That money >$400,000 could go along way toward the Youth Employment and Youth Activities I hear so many in the city of Wilmington calling for.

    Let us hope there are some big plans in the close to the vest planning going on. I am hoping that I will be pleasantly surprised by the incoming city administration and council.

  5. anon says:

    Geezer-During the campaign he identified the city’s problems and offered solutions, I liked his straightforwardness . I would like to see him implement some of his ideas like his program to reduce the high drop out rate among inner city teens. I want to see Williams succeed.

  6. PainesMe says:

    “Williams, IMHO, will make a great Mayor if he is able to walk that fine line.”

    I used to be big on Williams, but he more I’ve interacted with Williams, and the more I hear about what he’s doing, the less optimistic I am that he will be able to walk that fine line. Prepare for 3 terms of corruption, incompetence and cronyism.

  7. PainesMe says:

    Anon –

    Re: drop out rates, how about a Wilmington City school district?

  8. mediawatch says:

    A school district for the city of Wilmington is gradually evolving.
    Call it “Charter Schools Inc.”

  9. SussexWatcher says:

    The parts of his speech I heard were all about me me me. He’s starting with his team not in place, asking for pay raises for his buddies, and refusing to speak with the state’s largest newspaper. I see very few ways that this is going to end well for Wilmington.

  10. SussexWatcher says:

    And the anti-elitist, anti-education approach as well:

    Shortly after being sworn in Tuesday, Williams said he had yet to fully review the study and wasn’t sure of the firm’s qualifications.

    “If it’s a bunch of sociologists or psychologists sitting down writing a story, that doesn’t mean anything to me,” Williams said.

    http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130110/NEWS/301100060/Budgetary-heartburn?nclick_check=1

  11. AGovernor says:

    @mediawatch

    No, please no. The Charters are a mess. God help us.

  12. pandora says:

    Too late, AGovernor, the charters are coming to the city of Wilmington. Big time.

    The donated BofA building is scheduled to house four charter schools containing 2200 kids.

  13. AGovernor says:

    I know they are here, but can’t we make them stop?

    Charters are not the answer. Desperate parents are being fooled by poorly run Charters that the Charter is the answer to their fears about traditional public schools and the issues their children face at school.

    Sad, sad movement in education for Wilmington students.

  14. pandora says:

    Agreed. Charters survive on propaganda. Check out my new post on the charter mindset.

  15. geezer says:

    “Desperate parents are being fooled by poorly run Charters”

    And it’s my belief that poorly run charters are being chartered in part to destroy the movement. There’s no other explanation for letting Theo Gregory run one.

  16. saveourcity says:

    The result of the so called “Study that was paid for by taxpayer’s money” was already determined even before the RFP went out to be bid. The results were what as certain person running for mayor campaigned on cutting public safety and funneling the money to the river front for development. So you get the right results if you pay for them to cover your mistakes in the first place. But now with the new Mayor in office public safety for the protection of our citizens will be in the forefront instead of funneling taxpayer’s money to developers.