Posts Tagged ‘Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson’

Sam did his homework

December 17, 2010

Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson had done his homework as he quizzed staff during a recent tour of the NRG Indian River power plant.

He asked plant officials to take a serious look at giving excess sulfur to area farmers instead of placing it in a landfill. Wilson said Sussex soil has a low pH and farmers have to purchase sulfur each year to add to the soil. He claims environmentalists have done too good a job removing sulfur from the air.

Plant manager Jack Grant said the idea might turn out to be a good one if it can get by scrutiny of federal and state regulators. In any case, they will look into it.

Wilson also knew that it costs twice as much to produce a kilowatt-hour of energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar compared to more traditional production from coal. He even knew the numbers: 14 cents versus 7 cents.


When is a conflict not a conflict?

December 2, 2010

Conflict of interest is a funny thing. It appears to be in the mind of the beholder more than anything else. What is one person’s definition of conflict of interest is another person’s definition of business as usual.

When it was revealed that Sussex County Councilman Sam Wilson, who was sworn in two years ago, has part ownership in a small manufactured home park, questions began to migrate in like the snow geese that are landing in local fields this time of year.

Wilson, who has been around the block a few times, took it all in stride and said he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He said his votes on manufactured home issues would not be different if he didn’t have a connection to the business.

This is not the first time the dreaded conflict of interest debate has surfaced in the hallowed halls of Sussex County Council. Several years ago, Councilman George Cole, a real estate agent, was criticized when he sold properties in a development he voted to approve.

At the time, Cole said the real conflict of interest was the actions of his fellow councilmen who owned businesses that could profit from building projects: Dale Dukes selling lumber; Finley Jones providing metal products; or Lynn Rogers selling signs. All three of those council members retired two years ago.

Recently, the council has used a conflict of interest to shut down the nomination of a board of adjustment nominee from Councilwoman Joan Deaver. Council members decided John Walsh’s volunteer involvement as a lobbyist with the Delaware Manufactured Home Owners Association presented too much of a conflict of interest for him to make unbiased decisions.

Wilson was among those opposed to Walsh.