Carney transition team report released

 

DOVER — Gov. John Carney’s transition team issued its “Action Plan for Delaware” report Thursday, formally recommending altering the Coastal Zone Act, providing more support to at-risk students and partnering with the business community.

 

The recommendations align with proposals released by the governor, who was sworn in Tuesday, over the past few months. Composed after several months of meetings by the transition team, the report includes 93 items, which specify timeframes and cost.

The team consisted of more than three dozen Delawareans, including leaders in the business and nonprofit fields. Members were placed into one of four groups: economic development and environment, public safety, education and health, and budget and workforce.

“It was the responsibility of each subcommittee to develop a list of actions steps or action items needed to achieve or advance each policy agenda,” Chairman Bill Bowser said.

Although some components of the document are broad, leaving both questions and room as to how they are to be accomplished, others do zero in on specifics.

One bullet point calls for potentially making changes to the Coastal Zone Act, which prohibits industrial activity and imposes regulations for businesses along the coast.

John Carney

“Well, I think it needs to be updated, particularly as it relates, and let’s be clear about that, as it relates to existing industrial sites,” Gov. Carney said. “That particular recommendation is consistent with what I talked about in the campaign.

“We had a public dialogue about it, I had a dialogue with members of the environmental community and here’s, I think, the win-win: So we’ve got aging industrial sites along the river and bay, mostly along the river. By the time you get to the bay it’s pretty pristine coastline. And you’ve got the sea rise happening, right? So if you don’t clean those sites up that contamination is going to leach out into the river. And that’s why there’s an opportunity.”

The formal submission from the group also endorses portions of the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission’s plan to give more resources for schools to help special education students, English Language Learners and those from high-poverty areas.

The proposal comes with a high cost, however: $15 million for a pilot in year one. Given a looming budget crunch, it may not gain any momentum.

The transition team heard from dozens of business executives, union officials, educators, environmental advocates and others over the past two months, and some of the suggestions it ultimately submitted piggyback on steps taken by the administration of Gov. Jack Markell.

Changes to several state agencies could be coming, although Gov. Carney cautioned he does not want to create more bureaucracy. He said Thursday he wants to separate the State Personnel Office from the Office of Management and Budget. The two were merged in 2005 under former Gov. Ruth Ann Minner.

Gov. Carney signed an executive order Wednesday to study replacing the Delaware Economic Development Office with a public-private partnership, and he has talked about re-organizing the Department of Education to make it more support-focused.

The recommendations also call for working with business executives to create jobs, and, although they does not offer specifics, combating recidivism.

Other items include:

•Reducing prison population by 5 percent per year through a series of steps

•Requiring racial sensitivity training for law enforcement

•Aiding women and minorities in applying for state contracts

•Expanding broadband internet

•Funding farmland preservation

•Increasing the school dropout age to 18

•Providing more apprenticeships and internships

Gov. Carney said the report will greatly influence his plan for his first 100 days.

“You campaign in poetry and you govern in prose. Well, this is some serious prose here,” he said.

Senate confirms some
of Carney’s cabinet picks

DOVER — The Delaware Senate voted to confirm the following nominees to Gov. John Carney’s Cabinet on Wednesday:

• Jeffrey Bullock was confirmed to continue serving as Secretary of State.

• Mike Jackson, Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

• Richard J. “Rick” Geisenberger, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Finance.

• Jennifer Cohan was confirmed to continue serving as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Transportation

• Perry Phelps as Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction.

• Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.

• Josette DelleDonne Manning, as Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families.

 

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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