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Dewey must release the investigator’s report

September 15, 2017

The long-awaited report on the investigation into Dewey Beach Town Manager Marc Appelbaum will apparently wait a little longer.
On Sept. 14, Mayor Dale Cooke said the commissioners have not yet received it and will not take action until they can review a written copy.

Cooke also said an executive-session presentation by the investigator revealed a new finding Cooke found seriously problematic: To draft the complaint against Appelbaum, Police Chief Sam Mackert enlisted Highway One's Alex Pires.

It doesn't pass the smell test, Cooke said. It's essential for the town police force to remain above the fray of town politics, he said.

We agree.

The complaint was anonymously released to the Cape Gazette and later filed with the Public Integrity Commission, a group that in previous matters concerning Dewey Beach has a history that is questionable at best.

Of special note is the PIC's 2012 ruling against then-Mayor Diane Hanson that was overturned in Superior Court.

In that case, the PIC found that Hanson should have recused herself from a vote allowing the Hyatt to rise higher than 35 feet because she was the owner of rental property.

Current opponents of Hanson should take note: Had the PIC's finding stood, the precedent could have discouraged anyone on council who owns rental property from voting on key issues facing the town. Equally disturbing, the complaint's vicious attack on Appelbaum recalls what turned out to be unfounded accusations against Hanson.

The town investigation has now taken so long, neither the commissioners nor the voters are likely to read it before they go to the polls Saturday, Sept. 16.

Still, the Cape Gazette expects this report – for which taxpayers paid $350 per hour – will be the most comprehensive and fair of the two investigations now underway.

It will no doubt contain more dirty laundry that some might say should remain private. But burying the problems will not solve them or bring the town together.

The commissioners must make the report public as soon as possible and then take decisive action based on its findings.

 

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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