Dewey town council has eliminated the town’s financial director position and had instead hired an accounting firm.
During a special meeting Feb. 23, council voted unanimously to hire Milford-based Luff & Associates to perform the duties of the financial director position through the end of this fiscal year, March 31. The certified public accounting firm is already doing payroll for the town.
Commissioner Dale Cooke, who has been acting town manager since December, made the suggestion to council. He said in the long run, it would save the town money because it would save time during the year-end, independent auditing process and eliminate the director’s salary.
George Luff of Luff & Associates owner, said the goal is to give the independent auditors a document ready for auditing. It will save them a tremendous amount of time, he said, estimating it will cost $12,000 for the services.
Luff added the company will also put into place an accounting system designed for easy transition from one town bookkeeper to the next.
Council did not announce the hiring of a new town manager, as expected, but it did extend the contract of Cooke.
Council announced during its February meeting that it had chosen former Dover City Manager Scott Koenig to replace former Town Manager Marc Appelbaum, who’s last day was in October.
Mayor TJ Redefer said the extension will cover the town until Koenig is available, plus a short period of overlap to help with the transition process.
The agenda also called for a possible settlement in a lawsuit brought by resident and former Commissioner Rich Hanewinckel. No settlement was announced.
Hanewinckel filed the lawsuit in September 2015, arguing that Appelbaum used the authority of his office to disrupt Hanewinckel's rental business and that Appelbaum arbitrarily enforced town zoning laws against Hanewinckel. The suit also accused former Mayor Diane Hanson of conspiring with Appelbaum to obstruct Hanewinckel's businesses. He is looking for $38,000 in lost income, plus the cost of legal fees.
The most recent action on the case was an order of deposition dated Jan. 17, which said Hanewinckel’s business partner Marcia Schieck will be deposed Feb. 5, in Wilmington.
Following the meeting, Redefer said the town is close to reaching a settlement in the case, but there were still some details to be worked out – such as the compensation amount.