Levy Court commissioners choose leadership, develop plans

DOVER — Newly elected Kent County Levy Court President Terry Pepper outlined his aspirations following Tuesday night’s organizational meeting, with an emphasis on building on his earlier experience in the post.

Terry Pepper

“I plan to continue to be one of Kent’s biggest cheerleaders, promoting Kent County in all settings,” he said. “I will also be assisting the county administrator daily on issues affecting the operation of county government.

“The role of the president is to know Levy Court and be able to make decisions on behalf of the commissioners when it is not practical to have a meeting. I have four years’ experience as president during my first term as commissioner. I hope to build on that experience.”

Also Tuesday, Commissioner Allan Angel got the nod as incoming vice president, as elected by commissioners.

Commissioners Joanne Masten (1st District), Angel (3rd District) and Jody Sweeney (5th District) took oaths of office and were sworn in during an afternoon ceremony. Also taking oaths were Register of Wills Harold Brode, Deputy Register of Wills Jason Mollohan and Clerk of the Peace Brenda Wootten.

Committee chairs were also selected Tuesday and include:
• Community Services — Commissioner Sweeney.
• Planning Services — Eric Buckson.
• Public Safety — Jeff Hall.
• Administration, including Information Technology — Commissioner Angel.
• Finance — Commissioner Masten.
• Public Works — Glenn Howell.

While Commissioner Buckson opted not to cast votes, and Commisioner Hall didn’t vote for a vice president, the other commissioners cast their final choices unanimously for Commissioners Pepper and Angel.

Commissioner Pepper will replace now-retired President P. Brooks Banta. Commissioner Masten was elected in November to fill that seat.

The swearing-in date was a departure from ceremonies usually held in December.

“We were notified that the Office of the Governor’s position related to Delaware’s Constitution and Title 9 of Delaware Code is that each new term shall commence on the first Tuesday of January after the biennial election and that elected officials must be sworn in on the day that the term begins, which turned out to be Jan. 5, 2021,” Kent County spokeswoman Kelly Pitts said.

Commissioner Angel pledged to continue working in apolitical fashion, with the interests of county residents taking precedence.

Allan Angel

“I will continue to be a voice in government for all Kent County citizens, with dedication, honor and respect of all residents and their issues,” he said.

“I want to thank my constituents for their support and will honor and respect them by keeping my promise of saying, ‘You’re my boss. I work for you,’ as the reason why I take my oath of office.”

Referencing “outside the box” ideas, Commissioner Angel touted the possibilities in Kent County, including “an amphitheater (partnered with a city or town), county pool or water park, veterans cemetery, working with the state to get rail service from Wilmington to the beaches in keeping our roads safer in transportation or, better yet, a future monorail (multi-fueled) service, since the gas or diesel automobile will be pushed aside for the electric version slated for 2035.

“Change is hard to look at or see, but we must move forth with innovative ideas for the future.”

Said Commissioner Masten, “I am honored to represent the residents of Kent County Levy Court District 1 and look forward to working with everyone.”

Commissioner Sweeney shared her sentiment.

“I am looking forward to another four years on Levy Court,” he said. “It is very satisfying to work with the other commissioners, the County Administrator Mike Petit de Mange and directors to accomplish such great things for Kent Countians.

“The one thing about working with this group is that, no matter our political affiliation or position on any matter that we face, when the meeting is over, we are all still friends. Over these next four years, I am going to increase my focus on protecting homeowners from abusive and derelict developers and builders,” he added.

Commissioner Buckson described his seat on Levy Court as “an honor and a blessing to be in a position to help when the need arises, and I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to guide the county over the next two years, as we move further into the 21st century.”

Looking forward to “getting back to normal,” Commissioner Howell said, “as soon as the government shutdown is over, we can resume in attending the multitude of events that are so important. To me, these events are where the rubber meets the road — getting out and talking with the people we represent.

“Though, I must admit, we continued to function well in spite of the numerous obstacles.”