Dover candidates face the issues at public forum

Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen, left, speaks during Candidate Night as one of his opponents George J. Gaudioso listens.  Former mayor and current candidate Carleton E. Carey Sr. declined the invitation to participate in Wednesday evening's event held at the Modern Maturity Center and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kent County and the American  Association of University Women Dover Branch. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

Dover Mayor Robin R. Christiansen, left, speaks during Candidate Night as one of his opponents George J. Gaudioso listens. Former mayor and current candidate Carleton E. Carey Sr. declined the invitation to participate in Wednesday evening’s event held at the Modern Maturity Center and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Kent County and the American Association of University Women Dover Branch. (Delaware State News photo by Dave Chambers)

DOVER— Two candidates for Dover mayor and the nine candidates for city council seats answered various questions from the public Wednesday during a candidates night at the Modern Maturity Center hosted by the League of Women Voters of Kent County.

Former Mayor Carleton E. Carey wasn’t in attendance for unknown reasons.

The candidates for Dover Mayor are Carleton E. Cary Sr., Robin R. Christiansen (incumbent) and George J. Gaudioso.

Dover city councilwoman Beverly C. Williams listens to her opponent and former Dover Police Chief James E. Hosfelt Jr. give his opening remarks during Wednesday's Candidate Night held at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.

Dover city councilwoman Beverly C. Williams listens to her opponent and former Dover Police Chief James E. Hosfelt Jr. give his opening remarks during Wednesday’s Candidate Night held at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover.

Running for the First District are James E. Hosfelt Jr. and Beverly Williams (incumbent).

David L. Bonar (incumbent) and Scott W. Cole are running for the Third District.

Chevis Anderson and Fred Neil are running for the Third District seat left vacant in November with the election of Sean Lynn to the General Assembly.

Wallace R. Dixon (incumbent), Kenneth G. Roach, and Roy Sudler Jr. are running for the Fourth District.

All candidates had one minute to answer questions requested by the audience.

Throughout the night many questions were raised especially about the crime and quality life in Dover and how each candidate would solve the problem moving forward.

Mr. Roach said it starts with encouraging the youth.

“We need to build on our relationships,” Mr. Roach said. “We have to make sure we feel as though we care about them and that’s what I hope to do. It starts with the kids. We can’t continue to discourage these kids and then blame them for choosing negative influences to latch on to. We need to give them a chance.”

Mr. Hosfelt, who recently retired as police chief from the city of Dover said the city has to continue to look forward regarding the problem.

“We’re never going to stop drug selling in our community, throughout our nation and our state,” Mr. Hosfelt said.

We have to deal with it. We have to look forward. We have to see what’s coming down the road in the future.

“In 2011 I asked for 10 officers and we didn’t get them then. Now all of a sudden we get them now. We had the same issues we have now then. We have 93 officers in the city of Dover and we have a population of 38,000. 93 officers can’t deal with society issues, as we just deal with the problems that come from it. That’s the unfortunate part and that’s why the police are considered as the bad guys.”

Another issue that concerned residents is the ongoing discussion about the responsibilities of the mayor and the city’s form of government.

Currently, under the city charter, the mayor is considered the executive and chief official of the city. The mayor is a non-voting ex-officio member of all committees.

The mayor, under the current structure, is the daily overseer of the police department with input in its finances and also personnel matters.

But last month city council, after flip-flopping from an earlier decision, voted to have all city departments except the city clerk’s office and the finance department report to the city manager.

The council will appoint the city manager, who, in turn, will report to the council.

The mayor’s position would remain full time, but without defined responsibilities.

Mayor Christiansen believes the mayor should be the chief executive officer of the city.

“The mayor shouldn’t have all of the responsibility, but I think the mayor should be in charge of the police department,” Mayor Christiansen said.

“I think the mayor and council should sit down and discuss with the citizens and divide up the responsibilities so that the mayor is the chief executive officer of the city making the city manager the chief operating officer of the city.

But Mr. Gaudioso is in favor of city council and city manager form of government.

“I ran because of this very issue,” Mr. Gaudioso said. Even though the city manager isn’t elected he’s appointed by your elected officials. One advantage to your city manager is that should he mess up and cost the city money in the hundred thousands of dollars he’ll be out the door because that will provide cause for his dismissal.

“You won’t have to worry about waiting for an election to take place to remove a mayor,” Mr. Gaudioso added.
Dover resident Thomas Dix said the event was beneficial to him for the upcoming election.

“I learned a lot about the issues” Mr. Dix said. “I’m glad I showed up and I’m more of an informed voter, as that’s what it is all about.”

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