Dewey town manager vacation overboard

May 3, 2013

Next week Dewey Beach citizens can welcome back Town Manager Marc Appelbaum as he returns from a four week sojourn in New Orleans. This vacation is in addition to his three weeks off at Christmas time, totaling at last seven weeks.


Mr. Applebaum has been town manager for eight months with almost two months spent out of town since he started Sept. 1, 2012. As one wag commented, nice work if you can get it.


He obviously is not complying with the vacation rules that apply to other town employees. Presumably he will claim he is available by internet and telephone (this is common these days for anyone away from the office). Although his plan for this long absence was a best kept secret until a few days before Applebaum left, he arranged for Jim Deedes to fill on at town hall, and presumably to be paid for this extra work. In essence, Mr. Deedes is Applebaum’s unofficial deputy town manager, not approved by the town council as such.


The town manager’s absence from Dewey at this time is all the more amazing given the summer season is almost here and always many details need to be decided. In addition, the largest and most controversial building project in Dewey’s history for which Applebaum is the point person apparently has serious compliance issues.


The citizens have asked the town manager for documents and details, but in his penchant for secrecy nothing has been explained or revealed to the citizens. In his absence the developer keeps on building, ignoring any violations the town manager may know about. For months Applebaum has been saying he did not have enough information to act on potential problems, and then he leaves town.


In addition, there are numerous key issues pending before the town council in which Applebaum plays a key role: institution of new tax rules, creation of a new ethics office, passage of the comprehensive plan and noise rules. Also Dewey Beach has just hired new attorneys to assist with litigation who will need support, advice and information for work on a major new lawsuit by Highway One challenging Dewey business license tax.


No one would deny a town employee reasonable vacation time, but this is ridiculous.


Joan Claybrook

Dewey Beach

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