Hosfelt resigns from Dover City Council, setting special election into motion

Jim Hosfelt

DOVER — Jim Hosfelt’s victory over Andrea Kreiner in a special election for a 2nd District Commissioner seat on the Kent County Levy Court on March 21 sent a chain of dominoes toppling over at Monday night’s Dover city Council meeting.

Mr. Hosfelt, who had served as a councilman representing the 1st District for the past two years, had his resignation from city council made official as the second item on the agenda.

With Mr. Hosfelt’s official resignation, city council then took to the task of setting the dates for a special election to fill his vacant 1st District seat.

Council voted for the special election to be held on Tuesday, May 16. Filing petitions from candidates will be accepted from today through Friday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m.

Voter registration for the special election will close Friday, May 5, and the new 1st District city council member will take the oath of office on Wednesday, May 24.

City Council President Timothy A. Slavin presented Mr. Hosfelt with a “key to the city.” Mayor Robin R. Christiansen gave him a commemorative tribute certificate and he was also given a silver cup for his service to Dover.

“I’ve already been privileged to have many chapters with Jim Hosfelt in my life,” Mr. Slavin said. “The first chapter I recall was after a particular terrible shooting that occurred of a young man on New Street.

“And on a very hot summer evening we went to a church meeting about the shooting and I watched with grace and dignity Jim Hosfelt stand before and take every question and every comment that was made and he did so in representing the city in the same way that he has represented us here over the last two years.”

Mr. Hosfelt was somewhat overtaken by emotion after receiving his honors from city council, but spoke about what serving the city meant to him following the meeting.

“It’s tough,” he said, “I’ve worked here for a lot of years, 26 years with the (police department) and then two years with council. We have some great people here and you just hate to walk away from it.

“But I’m looking forward to the challenges with Levy Court and the really good thing about it is that even though I’ll be working for Levy Court I’ll still get to serve a large constituent based in the city.”

Mr. Hosfelt will serve the remaining part of Bradley Eaby’s two-year term as a 2nd District commissioner. Mr. Eaby resigned from Levy Court to take a job with the state.

Council President Slavin then recommended that James L. Hutchison Sr. be appointed to fill Mr. Hosfelt’s unexpired term as chairman of Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee. It was approved in a 6-1 vote with two abstentions.

Councilman Brian Lewis voted against the recommendation, saying he didn’t think it would work out in terms of remaining days that would enable the retiring Mr. Hutchison to serve on the Police Chief Search Committee, which comes with the appointment.

Mr. Lewis cast his no vote “because he will also have the duties of being on the Chief of Police Selection Committee, which I don’t believe will have a decision by May when Councilman Hutchinson departs from city council. It is unfair to the applicants, selection committee and the city.”

In other city council news on Monday:

• A road alignment with West Green Blade Drive and Independence Boulevard, as part of a roundabout project, was approved unanimously. It is expected to cost an additional $54,000 that will be paid for with Community Transportation Funds.

The construction of a somewhat-controversial roundabout will cost around $122,000.

David Jamison, a retired engineer with the Delaware Department of Transportation, made the recommendation to have the city simply install a radar speed sign for around $5,000 on Independence Boulevard that would address a “speeding” problem “and enable expenditure of Community Transportation Funds on the city’s more serious transportation issues that require attention.”

• Acting Dover Police Chief Maj. Marvin Mailey presented the department’s 2016 annual report to city council on Monday.

“This past year has proved once again to be an extremely challenging time for our employees and I am proud of the hard work and drive they have shown throughout the year,” Maj. Mailey said.

The report’s highlights showed that the police department’s total complaints last year (43,692) increased by 11.6 percent, a total of 4,561 more complaints than 2015.

The department also saw a 14.7 percent increase in violent crimes, which include murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Maj. Mailey said the Dover Police Department continues to excel in investigating major crimes.

He said the department received 15 more robberies than 2015 and 72 percent of those crimes were cleared. There were 110 burglary investigations in 2016, 29 more than 2015, and of those burglaries, 63 percent were cleared, exceeding the national averages for such cases.

The police department’s Drugs, Vice and Organized Crime Section accounted for 791 proactive drug arrests, including the seizures of 6,541 grams of marijuana, 1,438 grams of cocaine, 378 grams of heroin, 192 doses of ecstasy and $69,179 in cash.

The number of vehicle crashes increased four percent from 2015. Traffic arrests for 2016 increased 21.7 percent as compared to 2015.

“As Deputy Chief of Police, I take great pride in the amount of hard work and dedication put forth by my co-workers, the employees of the Dover Police Department,” Maj. Mailey said. “It is our intention to continue the good work we have completed this year and build upon it in 2017.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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