Five in running for Rehoboth commissioner

Two seats up for grabs Aug. 9
June 10, 2014

Five candidates will run for two commissioner seats in the Rehoboth Beach municipal election, set Saturday, Aug. 9, at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center.

The candidates for commissioner will be incumbent Lorraine Zellers, planning commissioner Frances “Bunky” Markert, former commissioner Kathy McGuiness, business owner John Meng and resident Larry Myslewski.

McGuiness, 47, is seeking a return to the commission after resigning her seat in 2012 to spend most of her time in Park City, Utah, supporting her three kids’ action-sports careers. She moved back in June 2013, and says she never really left the area, continuing to work and maintain a home in Henlopen Acres.

“First of all, I love Rehoboth Beach. And I've been approached by many citizens and business owners for the past few months, asking me if I would consider running. I thought about it, and the timing seems right for me. I feel I have a lot to contribute,” McGuiness said.

While she is running as a nonresident, McGuiness said she considers Rehoboth home, having grown up in Rehoboth and running two businesses in town and being a founding member of Rehoboth Beach Main Street.

“Well, I know how the city works. I have years of experience here with the important issues like land use, our environment, city maintenance, constituent services, tourism and budgeting. I have a proven track record, and I can bring balance and energy to the commissioner's table."

"My platform before was "preserve, promote and protect" and nothing has changed for me. I want to continue to serve our residents, property owners and businesses,” she said.

Markert, 62, has served as a member of the planning commission since 2009 and is running as a resident. A native of Baltimore, Markert retired to Rehoboth after a career as an auditor with the Maryland departments of transportation and environment and as finance director for several nonprofits. Markert said he is basing his platform on preservation, using his experience as a planning commissioner to illustrate his experience building consensus and working on important city issues.

“I feel strongly about neighborhood and community. This is a beautiful place; we are privileged to live here and to have so many friends here. So why would you not want to preserve it while appreciating that sharing the city with visitors is what makes it thrive? Striking the balance of all the various constituents and external forces is a challenge, but is vitally important for our enjoyment and for the future,” he said.

The most surprising entry could be Myslewski, who previously took the city to federal court over the 2013 scooter ordinance. While that case is still on appeal, Myslewski wants to change the scooter ordinance from the inside.

A resident since 1996, Myslewski, 68, is a human resources consultant with World Bank and holds an MBA in marketing from George Washington University.

In addition to amending the scooter ordinance to exempt property owners from being required to buy scooter permits to park in front of their homes, Myslewski said he is also hoping bring the city's human resource policies and employee compensation up to date, saving money to be used for infrastructure and service improvements. He said he would also like to audit the mayor's office to improve transparency.

Meng, 45, is the owner of Dive Bar on Rehoboth Avenue Extended and is a member of the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company. An 18-year resident of Rehoboth, Meng is originally from Newton, Mass., where he was a state trooper.

"I think I have something to offer," Meng said. "I think the city has been run well. None of the commissioners are from South Rehoboth, so I think I can give that perspective of that side of town. I don't have any radical agenda items."

The two commissioner seats this year currently belong to Zellers, who filed for reelection a week before the deadline, and Mark Hunker, who declined to run for a second term. Zellers is seeking her third consecutive term, and has been the top vote-getter both years she has run, in 2008 and 2011.

In addition to the crowded commissioner field, the mayor’s seat will be up for grabs with incumbent Sam Cooper seeking his ninth term against financial advisor Tom McGlone, who ran against Cooper in 2011.