Posts Tagged ‘Joan Deaver’

At odds over meetings

September 7, 2009

Maverick Sussex County Councilwoman Joan Deaver is upsetting the tried-and true applecart at every turn. It seems she can’t stay out of the fire or the frying pan or even hot water by putting those good ole boy traditions to the test.
Her newest battle involves one about meetings and which ones, if any, are off limits.

As the councilwoman in the district with some of the most controversial land-use applications, she feels she needs to get out and gather as much information as possible.

That might require attending community meetings, meeting with small groups of constituents or attending planning and zoning commission meetings. She has attended those meetings in the past, including an Aug. 27 planning and zoning meeting and an Aug. 31 community meeting in Lewes.

But according to Council President Vance Phillips, she is walking an extremely fine line. Phillips says there is a long-standing policy that county council members do not attend planning and zoning meetings. And Deaver said county attorney Everett Moore told her it would be better to stay away from community meetings that deal with pending applications.

To date, Phillips has not produced the policy.

He has said several times that by attending planning and zoning meetings, council members could jeopardize their participation in council hearings.
So Deaver says she will continue to attend as many meetings as possible, place land-use matters on her website and keep constituents informed via email. She feels it’s part of her job to keep informed and to inform.

Deaver said a policy restricting council members from attending public meetings would be wrong to begin with.

There is no doubt the two council members do not see eye-to-eye on many topics, and this issue has only helped to widen the divide a little more.

Deaver wants the oft-cited policy brought into the light of day for all to see. Phillips says it’s under review by county legal staff.

Let’s hope there is a quick resolution so council can focus on the important business of running the county.


On The Circle

April 7, 2009

IT’S IN THE SEATING – The biggest question circulating around Sussex County political circles the past few months has been how the new county council will perform. How newcomers Democrat Joan Deaver and Republicans Mike Vincent and Sam Wilson were assigned seats may offer a clue. Facing the audience, Deaver is seated to the far left and Wilson is seated to the far right. If you spend any time with either council member, you will discover quickly that their political persuasions are not too far off the mark from the seating chart. Incumbents George Cole and Vance Phillips, both Republicans, moved a seat to the right, more to the center. Is there any symbolism in that move?

ONLY IN SUSSEX – New Councilman Mike Vincent of Seaford had to relinquish his Seaford council position to take on the new seat in Georgetown. His replacement is Bill Bennett, who is a relative by marriage of Sam Wilson, another new member of county council. The saying is true: You have to be careful whom you talk about in Sussex County. You never know who is related to whom.

EAGER DEAVER – New Councilwoman Joan Deaver is taking the county by storm. She has not only opened the county’s land-use comings and goings to the world with her own website, she has formed a group of ladies (there could be men in the group but I haven’t seen them) who attend all council meetings and advise her on matters. Deaver’s dedicated duchy is keeping a vigilant eye on every move made by the men of Sussex County Council.

WOMEN POWER – Maybe they feel more empowered now that one of their own is sitting in a chair of authority, but women are showing up more and more at county meetings. The Sussex chapter of League of Women Voters has started sending an observation team to every county meeting. And there appears to be a groundswell of other women who are attending meetings and speaking out during public hearings and during the public participation portion of council meetings.

Perhaps they are following in the footsteps of Abigail Adams who said:

“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

And so it goes around The Circle.