Wheatley's call for code of ethics laughable

July 14, 2014

Although I am not a resident of District 5, the entire makeup of the five-member Sussex County Council is of vital interest to me and all Sussex residents.  It is absolutely mind boggling that District 5 County Council candidate Bob Wheatley can call for stricter observance of the state code of ethics with a straight face. If anyone doubts why Sussex County needs its own strict code of ethics, just look at the conflicts of interest swirling around Bob Wheatley himself.  Let’s see:

• Wheatley is head of Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission and in the key position to recommend which developments and building projects actually reach the council for a vote.

• Wheatley is also head of business development for Whayland construction management firm, a company I believed he owned until recently, which performs the following services among others according to its website: Land/Building Acquisition; Permit Acquisition; Construction Services; Financing Assistance and Project Consulting.

Now if all of that isn’t enough of a conflict, Wheatley apparently sells real estate as a “Real Estate Pro” with Alliance Real Estate Professionals. He has been said to have recused himself from some decisions that could set up a conflict. Really? His entire planning and zoning job is in direct conflict with his daily business.

Wheatley told the Cape Gazette last week, “Sussex County Council needs to adopt a resolution giving its unqualified support for both the spirit and the letter of the (state) code” and “provide training necessary to educate all county officeholders and employees about the code.”  He added, “One Republican councilman has already expressed his support for the idea.” That councilman offering more support for a state code of ethics I believe is District 5 incumbent Vance Phillips! Do I hear laughter from the rafters?

Go figure. Whether Sussex develops its own code of ethics, as District 5 candidate Brad Connor originally stated we need, or if it continues to operate under the state code, Wheatley cannot stand up to the conflict of interest test of either.

Nancy Cullen

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