Dover council further backs employees sacked by mayor

DOVER — Council took further action on Monday to express its support for three city workers fired by Mayor Richard Homrighausen and later reinstated in their jobs.

After:Indicted Dover Mayor Richard Homrighausen sues city, legal director, three people he fired

The council passed an ordinance stating that the three – director of services Dave Douglas, director of safety and human resources Gerry Mroczkowski and Eva Newsome, the mayor’s executive assistant – are needed by the city and that any action taken against the three “would be prejudicial to the best interests of the City of Dover.”

Homrighausen fired all three in December. Douglas, Mroczkowski and Newsome testified at a council inquiry into the mayor’s conduct last year.

They appealed their dismissal to the State Personnel Review Board. They returned to work after the council approved a settlement between the city and the laid off employees.

“These employees, through their truthful testimony and hard work to keep the city running not only before their wrongful dismissal by the mayor, but also after their return to work following the SPBR arrest, have greatly benefited the city.” , says the order.

After:Dover will hire legal counsel to represent employees in Homrighausen lawsuit

The council also overturned a veto by Homrighausen to an order authorizing the legal director to hire outside legal counsel to defend city employees against lawsuits filed by the mayor.

Homrighausen vetoed the order on April 20.

After:Dover has money to pay for light factory cost overruns, auditor says

Prior to the council meeting, members met in committee of the whole to give preliminary approval to pay two outstanding bills due to the closure of the municipal lighting plant last year.

The bills — $34,000 owed to RCR Services and $199,000 owed to Sulzer Turbo Services to rebuild the light plant turbine — are part of the $350,000 cost overrun resulting from the shutdown. The additional expenses had not been approved by the board.

Council Speaker Shane Gunnoe during a normal session of Dover City Council on May 2.

“These two have been budgeted,” Council Chairman Shane Gunnoe said. “They weren’t in last year’s budget, but we’ve made cuts in this year’s budget in other areas to offset that extra spending.”

Final approval for payment of invoices will be given at a future board meeting.

During the ordinary session, the council also:

• Heard report from Douglas that bids were high for this year’s street paving. “They’re probably the highest I’ve ever seen.”

But he added: “One way or another we’ll make it work and we’ll do some good paving this year.”

Newly appointed Director of Parks, Recreation and Shade Tree Services Jeff Mathews is seen during a normal session of Dover City Council, May 2.

• I heard from Jeff Mathews, Dover’s new Parks, Recreation and Shade Tree Manager. He replaces Scott Jerles, who retired after 32 years of service to the city.

“It’s a pleasure for me, it’s an honor for me to be able to do this job,” Mathews said. “I have very big shoes to fill. I don’t take it lightly. I have a lot to learn, but I am surrounded by very good people.”

After:Going out with a bang – Scott Jerles retires as Dover Parks Manager

• Heard Mroczkowski report that the City is repainting the lines on Crater Avenue Extension at Deis Hill to make the entrance to Dover City Park more visible.

• Heard Gunnoe report that the Canal Dover Festival will take place May 27-29 (Memorial Day weekend) in Dover city centre. The parade will take place at noon on May 28.

After:Health issues lead to retirement of Dover police dog Rex

• Heard from Councilor Sandy Moss about efforts to commemorate the K-9 Rex. The dog retired from police work last year due to health issues and died in February. Proposals included a statue or sign. Moss will consult with Cemetery Superintendent Scott Harmon for ideas, then report back to council.