Dewey Beach is on its third town manager in six months. Property owner and volunteer Jim Dedes took over town hall March 1. Dedes says he wants to help the town stay on its feet until a permanent town manager is found. “They’re still searching for the right person,” Dedes said. “I just want to get things going.”
Mayor Diane Hanson announced Dedes’ appointment as acting town manager in a March 2 email. “Jim has extensive experience in both administrative and management areas in government, and with his knowledge of Dewey Beach and the issues we're facing, he'll be an excellent addition to the leadership team at town hall,” Hanson said.
Dedes managed the probation system in Fairfax County, Va., for more than 20 years before he moved to Dewey Beach full-time. He owns Sunrise Restaurant on Route 1, and he is a member of the town’s planning and zoning commission, chairman of the noise committee and a member of the town’s quality of life committee. Dedes was voted Dewey Beach’s 2009 Volunteer of the Year.
Dedes was serving as chairman of the town manager search committee; Beverley Corelle is scheduled to take over as chairwoman. Dedes said he will continue to attend meetings as an ex-officio member, but he said he will not vote.
Dedes said he was approached by some members of town council, who asked him to consider filling in as interim town manager. Since former Town Manager Diana Smith stepped down in September, the town has had two employees fill the position temporarily. Police Chief Sam Mackert, and more recently Financial Officer Bill Brown each served as acting town manager for three months.
According to the Charter of Dewey Beach, a temporary town manager can serve for only 90 days.
The town nearly had a permanent replacement for Smith in February. Town Council offered the job to a man who had applied and interviewed for the position, but at the last minute, the man withdrew his application. “It was very unfortunate,” Dedes said.
Dedes said he does not know why the man ultimately refused the job. “He was interviewing in other areas,” he said.
Dedes said there is one applicant from the original list of candidates whom town council is considering. “But the mayor and the commissioners would like to look a little further,” he said.
Dewey Beach officials are advertising a salary range of $60,000 to $85,000 for the position. The deadline for applications is Friday, March 16. Dedes said those who have already applied should not apply again.
Hanson said town council is actively searching for a permanent town manager and hopes to have the position filled by Tuesday, May 1.