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Listen to the voters in Rehoboth

September 29, 2017

What happened at the Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners meeting?

I guess we should not be shocked by the shameful behavior of incumbent commissioners Stan Mills, Toni Sharp and Patrick Gossett...as they appear to believe that the voters are willing to accept more of the same way of doing business as in the past. Well...we're not willing to accept more of the same.

Commissioners Mills, Sharp and Gossett have made a serious miscalculation. Or did they simply miss the unmistakable message of change delivered by the voters Aug. 12? Their actions to obstruct newly-elected Mayor Kuhns' nominee, Pat Coluzzi, from being appointed to serve out the remaining one year of his term as commissioner evidences that they must not have heard the voters...or, if they heard them, they definitely did not listen to them.

Just minutes after participating, reportedly with every indication of comradery, in taking pictures for the city's website with Pat Coluzzi as one of the "seven" commissioners who would be serving for the next year, Commissioners Mills, Sharp and Gossett reneged on their support for her. We now know that their support for Pat Coluzzi's nomination and their participation in the photo shoot was all fake.

Their vote not once but twice to block Pat Colluzi from serving out Mayor Kuhns' remaining one year as commissioner was unquestionably a well-orchestrated plan to nominate Susan Gay in an attempt to retain control under those aligned with former Mayor Cooper. Their actions were clearly not a result of some spontaneous simultaneous realization that Susan Gay should be appointed to the board but a coalition that was formed in advance with a well thought out intent to block Mayor Kuhns' efforts to begin the healing process in our city.

This should have been the beginning of a unifying time in our city - moving forward together rather than against each other. Their decision to stand against Mayor Kuhns' nominee after leading him to believe that they would support her only encourages divisiveness rather than unity and calls into question whether they can ever be trusted to act in our best interests. And I am sure that Pat Colluzi is particularly hurt by Commissioner Sharp's betrayal after she had befriended Commissioner Sharp, sat side-by-side with her week after week at the volunteer tent at the farmers market, and supported her when she ran for commissioner.

I am sure that it has been difficult after all these years of controlling city's government for certain members of our community to accept the unexpected defeat of former Mayor Cooper by a more than 200 vote margin and the election loss suffered by Susan Gay - but the voters have spoken and they elected Mayor Kuhns with 761 votes, re-elected Kathy McGuiness with 903 votes, and elected newcomer Lisa Schlosser with 706 votes. It is time to be gracious in defeat and be respectful.

But if Commissioners Mills, Sharp and Gossett intend to frustrate the will of the voters and continue to be obstructionists, potentially leaving our board of commissioners virtually deadlocked until the next municipal elections in 2018, in an attempt to hold on to the past, they will need to face up to the consequences of their actions. So, unless they are prepared and willing to accept defeat the next time they stand for re-election, hopefully, one or more of the three of them will finally listen to the voters, come to their senses, and step up as responsible elected officials.

Allison Feeney
Rehoboth Beach

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