Dewey nears April deadline to sell unneeded military equipment

Koenig: current inventory of items at 2,644
February 26, 2019

Dewey commissioners are still waiting for a list, due in January, of items acquired through the military surplus program the town wants to keep.

“We don’t have that list,” said Commissioner Gary Persinger, who added the list is essential before officials dispose of any items, expected to be complete by April.

Town Manager Scott Koenig said the inventory lists 2,644 items, but the actual number is closer to 2,285 because some equipment had been disposed of. He said in March, he would provide the list of items for which the town has a specific, identifiable and demonstrable need.

He said a significant number of items, such as paper clips, boots and clothing, equates to about $1 million in original acquisition value. Koenig said the item with the highest value is about $240,000, and that items valued around $5,000 constitute most items, for an original value of over $4 million for all 2,644 items.

Koenig said he and Police Chief Sam Mackert are returning items that cannot be sold to the government, including rifle sights, holographic sights and special-use cameras. Other items, he said, have already been disposed of or bartered to Coastal Towing in exchange for services.

A shipping container with an acquisition value of $4,500 obtained in January 2018 was missing from the original summary and has been added to the list, Koenig said.

“We are active in the program; we are not active in getting additional items at the moment,” he said, noting officers may identify potential items that he must approve first. “We all agree we’re in the process of getting rid of stuff and don’t need to acquire anything.”

Koenig said he would like to store Humvees, trailers and other equipment the town decides to keep at town hall or on property the town owns in West Rehoboth.

“I don’t want to have to lease space and have someone else be custodian of the property,” he said.

Persinger suggested Koenig dispose of the highest-value items first.

“My concern is we do this in as much sunshine, with as much light -- laser light beams -- as possible,” he said.

Commissioner Dale Cooke said with April fast approaching, the town manager should have someone haul the worst of the equipment to a dump.

“This has been going on for way too many months,” Cooke said.

Resident Elaine Bole appeared to call commissioners to hold personnel accountable for their roles in acquiring the equipment.

“It’s important not to forget how some of the stuff was acquired because it’s tainted all of the good work you all have done, and that does need to come to light,” she said. “I hope that’s being dealt with.”

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