Q&A: Dover First District Candidates


William Garfinkel

Education: Master of Business Administration, Wilmington University; Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Fairleigh Dickinson University; Associate in Science in Business Administration, Brandywine College; Certificate – Judicial Education Program, Delaware Law School

Family: Wife, four children

Years living in Dover: 35 years

Affiliations: Appointed by council to serve as chairman of the Election Board and chairman of the Board of Assessment Appeals; retired from the state of Delaware after 33 years in executive and leadership positions: State Director of the Welfare Fraud Unit for more than 20 years; State Magistrate for four years; Deputy Director of the Anti-Discrimination Section of the Department of Labor for six years; and Operation Manager of the Division of Child Support Enforcement for two years; also served as Treasurer and Board Member of a $20 million credit union.

Have you ever been publicly elected to office?: No

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected?: Phone, 302-670-0195 or email, wgarfinkel@aol.com

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Mr. Garfinkel: When I moved to the 1st District, it was so much different back then … almost rural. But I knew from life experiences that it would not stay that way. I found myself asking: How will the 1st District develop? Would it continue to be a livable area with a high quality of life over the next 50 to 100 years?

Land use, planning, traffic, crime, etc., all play a critical role in the look and feel of a neighborhood, its livability, and our property values. But there is one constant — we are a residential area in the 1st District, made up of neighborhoods; and it must stay that way.

For over three decades now, I have been on city council committees; given testimony at council and committee meetings; formed our neighborhood Civic Association/Crime Watch; called to order our neighborhood meetings; and generally tried to educate, inform, cajole and influence our elected officials to do the right thing for the 1st District and our city.

One might say I’ve been in training for this council seat for a long time, but I remain energized and passionate about the work ahead. Given my employment experience, education, training and community involvement, I am ready to serve.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Mr. Garfinkel: Folks are concerned about issues that directly affect them: Public safety, city finances (taxes and budget) and quality of life.

These issues are all directly linked to council and its collective leadership. I am committed to being a true agent of change and finding workable longterm, comprehensive, global solutions to Dover’s problems.

We need a 50-year plan for Dover. All our shortterm plans are leaving Dover stuck in the past, not embracing the future.

People tell me they want a councilman who is an innovator, with vision, knowledge, experience, and – perhaps most importantly – the courage to act. Once again, I am prepared to deliver.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Mr. Garfinkel: I have held executive positions for most of my professional career, managing multi-million dollar budgets and large staffs. I bring to the council demonstrated skills in developing innovative programs, strategic imagination and team leadership.

I believe that forward thinking and a positive attitude are essential for good management and good government. That can-do spirit goes a long way.

Today, in a rapidly-changing world, the key to being a policy-maker is embracing innovation. To me, that means questioning the established routine and looking for the new, the novel, the creative – finding faster, better and less expensive ways to get the right results. This is by nature what I do best.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Mr. Garfinkel: Received US HUD Inspector General’s Award for Superior Accomplishment in building a national model to coordinate state and federal investigations of fraud in housing programs and received USDA Inspector General’s Award for developing a joint federal and state food stamp trafficking program called “Operation Talon.”

I also served on the Board of Directors of US Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS) for the Public Assistance Reporting Information System (PARIS).

I received a commendation for locating an abducted child and her abductor in Delaware and was also appointed to Citizens Budget Oversight Committee (CBOC) for Capital School District.


Matthew Lindell

Education: Smyrna High School (1999); Wesley College B.A. History w/ Minor in Political Science (2003); Wesley College M.A. Teaching (2005), and Washington College M.A. History (2014)

Family: Wife: Jennifer Wutka-Lindell; 3-year-old daughter Ava Grace; and 11-year-old adopted dog Madison

Years living in Dover: 18 years

Affiliations: Teacher of History and Social Sciences at Dover High School (2005-2011) and Cape Henlopen High School (2011-present); Delaware School Boards Association-2nd Vice President (2016-present).

Have you ever been publicly elected to office?: I was elected to the Capital School District Board of Education in 2012 and served as President (2013-2014) and (2015-2016) and Vice-President (2014-2015). My term expires June 30, 2017.

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected? Phone, 302-632-0078; Email, lindell99@yahoo.com, or follow my campaign on Facebook Matthew Lindell for 1st District Dover City Council

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Mr. Lindell: I entered this election because there are too many politicians and not enough public servants serving our city.

I am fed up with the palace intrigue and partisanship, I am fed up with politicians putting their own needs ahead of their constituents, and I am most fed up with voters being used as pawns on the chessboard when they should be treated as the king.

We have major issues in the city to deal with now and politics and partisanship only serve as a distraction to addressing the real issues. I am just a hardworking husband, father, teacher, coach and school board member trying to make a difference in the community that my family calls home. Public office is a community service not a career choice.

If I am elected, I am not going to accept a salary and my votes will be based on what is best for the future of the city of Dover and its citizens. The only people that will pull my strings are the citizens that I hope to have the honor to serve.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Mr. Lindell: With a large hole in the state budget, many are worried about the financial impact that the state budget will have on Dover in regard to taxes and services.

My wife and I own a townhouse in the Village of Westover that was bought at the height of the housing boom in 2006, and our mortgage is bigger than the current value of the home. We make enough to pay the bills and provide for our daughter, Ava; however, like many families, we are forced to make tough budget decisions. While contributing to basic services is a part of living in a community, I feel we need to recalibrate how we determine what is an absolute necessity versus nice-to-have(s), just as many families (including mine) have to do every day.

A government for the people by the people should not be exempt from having to make the tough decisions that every day families must make to balance their budgets.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Mr. Lindell: I have taught and coached high school students for 12 years, so I am well versed in dealing with a variety of personalities while helping shape the future. As a current member and past president of the Capital School District Board of Education, I work hard to ensure that the $105 million of local, state, and federal tax dollars that flow into the school district are used to maximum potential to provide a quality education for our students while decreasing the tax burden at the local level.

In fact, I am the only candidate in the 1st District race who has actually has voted to lower taxes, through adding programs that benefit our children and eliminating the programs that do not provide results.

Another skill I bring to the table is having the experience of having to hire several high level positions at once just as the city is tasked with doing at this time. In 2015, our district superintendent, assistant superintendent, and human resource director all retired at the same time, one of our board members resigned to join the Dover City Council and our board president was finishing her tenure on the board in the midst of this process.

Our board weathered this process by hiring the best person in each of these positions and Capital School District continues to move forward.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Mr. Lindell: Personal-I am most proud of being a product of the American Dream. My parents scraped by paycheck to paycheck as many of us do, and created a stable environment so I could thrive and have the chance to do better than they did. I paid my own way through college and through hard work and fiscal responsibility paid off my loans early.

Now, I have a family of my own and a career that helps others on their path to achieving their dreams. Professional-My years of service on the Capital School District Board of Education and making the tough decisions on finances and personnel that will keep the district on an upward trajectory for years to come.


Tanner Wm. Polce

Education: B.A. in political science, Wesley College; M.B.A, Wesley College

Family: Mother, Rebecca Kilgus; father, Fredrick Polce; sister Kelsey and brother-in-law JD Hardesty

Years living in Dover: 7.5 years

Affiliations: Adjunct Faculty, Wesley College; Joint Appointment for the School of Business and Political Science Department; Policy Director, Office of the Lt. Governor

Have you ever been publicly elected to office?: I have not been an elected official, but work closely with many state leaders daily.

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected?: Phone, 302-526-0685 or email, tanner.polce@gmail.com.

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Mr. Polce: I’m running for city council to give our community a voice as we get our city back on track.

Simply put, I think our city needs someone who can think strategically, yet boldly about the issues that we, as a community, are currently facing.

I’m running for city council because my entire adult life has been about bringing diverse stakeholders together to find sensible solutions for real problems. I am running to be a proactive voice for our city.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Mr. Polce: Throughout the hundreds of conversations I’ve had, from doors in Fox Hall or Fox Hall West to dinner at Darryl and Carol Scott’s, most people are telling me two things: keep our neighborhoods safe and support the local economy.

City council needs to leverage our existing resources to expand proven public safety strategies like community policing.

That goes hand-in-hand with attracting and retaining small businesses and creating a more dynamic economy.

Small businesses in Dover can’t thrive if their customers don’t feel safe; by the same token, crime goes down with unemployment and economic growth.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Mr. Polce: As I tell my students, there are three types of people in the world: those who watch things happen, those who ask “what happened” and those who make things happen.

I work each day to bring people with different backgrounds, educational levels and beliefs together to create constructive solutions to public problems.

From helping our most vulnerable populations, including our friends with cognitive disabilities and our homeless population, to working on major policy issues, my entire adult professional career has been focused on making Delaware a better place to live.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Mr. Polce: I’ve had a chance to work with a number of people whom I consider role models – choosing one experience with them would be impossible.

But I would offer that this campaign has been an incredible privilege and a lot of fun, to boot.

I’m glad that my community has embraced me as a young leader and has given me such great feedback, and I take great pride in spending so much time meeting and working with people who I consider not only my neighbors, but my friends.

See Monday’s edition of the Delaware State News for a Q&A survey of Dover’s 2nd District City Council candidates.

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