Kent County commissioners, row officers sworn in

DOVER — Kent County Levy Court held its swearing-in ceremony on Thursday for county commissioners and row officers who won seats in the November elections — a ceremony nearly three centuries old here.

Nine oaths were sworn by incumbents reassuming their positions and newcomers assuming theirs, along with selected deputies.

The ceremony bookmarked two of the biggest Kent County government shakeups brought on by the election — the new 2nd District Levy Court Commissioner Jeffrey Hall (D) and new Sheriff Brian Lewis (D).

Mr. Hall replaces former Commissioner James Hosfelt (R); Mr. Lewis replaces former Sheriff Jason Mollohan (R).

“It will be an honor to serve in this office and I look forward to working with my new staff and my new deputy sheriffs,” said Mr. Lewis during the ceremony. “It’s an honor and a privilege.”

The sheriff’s office employs three deputies in addition to other staff. According to Kent County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange, row officers may appoint their own deputies. Mr. Lewis opted to retain the former staff.

“He started to get to know staff after the election and he’s chosen to reappoint the same staff that the previous sheriff had,” said Mr. Petit de Mange. “That speaks volumes about the quality of the deputies that we have. They’re retired law enforcement and all very well-versed in the role of the sheriff’s office and they’ll continue to do a great job.”

Jeffrey Hall

Mr. Hall won his bid for the 2nd District commissioner seat in a tight race. Mr. Hosfelt took 4,391 votes to Mr. Hall’s 5,240. His first official meeting as a commissioner will be on Jan. 8.

Taking his seat on the court, he noted that he’s ready to get down to county business.

“I’m excited to get started,” he said. “I was on the public side of the Levy Court chambers observing for about a year and a half. Now I’m just looking forward to serving the public.”

Mr. Hall, the department chairman of Engineering Technologies at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus, said he visited more than 2,500 homes in Kent County during his campaign.

“I met a lot of good folks, and heard a lot from this county’s constituents,” he has said. “There is a lot to deliver for them, and I intend to do that.”

At-large Commissioner Terry Pepper (D) and 6th District Commissioner Glen Howell (R), both incumbents who retained their offices, were re-sworn in.

Both men start their third consecutive terms. Mr. Pepper also held the at-large seat from 1994 to 1998, but did not seek reelection after that term.

Fourth District Commissioner Eric Buckson (R), another incumbent who kept his seat, was not present at the initial ceremony due to work obligations.

Incumbent Recorder of Deeds Betty Lou McKenna (D) — who was re-elected with 53 percent of the vote — was also resworn in on Thursday. Ms. McKenna starts her fifth term in the office.

At the close of what was a brief and efficient ceremony, 1st District Commissioner P. Brooks Banta opined on the importance of the political class working together regardless of party.

“Hopefully, ceremonies like this one resonate throughout the county and maybe return a bit of civility to our nation,” he said. “That’s what we need from Democrats, Republicans and Independents — a civilized exchange. Ceremonies like this drive that home and I’m very happy to be a part of it.”

 

Staff writer Ian Gronau can be reached at 741-8272 or igronau@newszap.com

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