Councilwoman Marion Jones will challenge Mayor Cliff Newlands in Milton's March municipal election. Jones said her frustrations as a member of council ultimately led to her decision to challenge the mayor.
She said it is often difficult to be included in the decision making process in town and wants all elected officials to have their voices heard. She said her campaign is not about the shortcomings of the current mayor. Rather it's about her plans if elected. She said she is running on a platform of public service and accountability.
“Public service isn't for everybody, but that's what either an elected person to a municipality or an employee of a municipality is bound by,” she said. “It's the service to the town as its own entity and to the citizens who pay their taxes.”
Jones, 57, has worked with the City of Rehoboth since 1993 and as an administrative assistant to Chief Keith Banks at the Rehoboth Beach Police Department since 2000. She said her day-to-day experience as a public servant is complementary to holding public office. With a full-time job, she said, she won't be in the office every day.
“I'm not going to be a five-day-a-week mayor at that town hall,” she said. “If that's what people want, I'm not the candidate. I also believe in the fact that we have a paid town manager that ought to be running this town on a day-to-day basis.”
Jones is a contributor to Milton Cat Snippers, a member of the historical society, serves on the personnel committee and is the chairwoman of the economic development committee. Growing business in all areas of town is among her concerns. She said when she ran for council in 2011 she was concerned about the town's continued decline in commercial businesses, a problem she still sees.
“I think we're still in that situation two years after I ran for council,” she said. “We are still fighting how to revitalize not only downtown but make all businesses in Milton healthy.”
She also wants to revamp the town's budget process; she said it's the job of the town manager to prepare and submit the budget and the process should start earlier.
“I'd like to see department heads held responsible for creating their projected budgets and managing their budgets through the year, keeping a cap on spending so that you don't see overages except on unexpected instances,” she said.
Jones' father taught in Milton and her parents retired to the town. She inherited their home on Behringer Street on the north side of town, where she's lived since 1993.
Milton's election will be held Saturday, March 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Town Hall.