Rehoboth Beach held its organizational meeting Sept. 15, which featured the swearing-in of Mayor Stan Mills, incumbent Commissioner Patrick Gossett and new Commissioner Donald Preston. Each term is for three years.
For about 24 hours after the filing deadline in early June, it looked like there was going to be an election, but then former Commissioner Jay Lagree announced he had changed his mind and would not seek re-election.
Mills is entering his second term as mayor, but he previously spent 12 years as a commissioner, ending in 2019. This is Gossett’s second straight term as commissioner, but similar to Mills, he has previous experience. He was a commissioner for nine years, ending in 2018. This is Preston’s first term as commissioner.
According to election information provided by the city, this is the first time since 1993 there was no election in a mayoral year. That year, Sam Cooper filed as mayor, while John Hyde and John Salin filed as commissioners. Cooper also went unchallenged in 1999 and 2002, but there were commissioner races.
This is also the first time since at least 1990 there have been consecutive years without an election in Rehoboth. In 2022, incumbent Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski and now-Commissioner Francis “Bunky” Markert were the only two to file.
Commissioners Tim Bennett and Toni Sharp are up for re-election next year.
As part of the swearing-in, commissioners also approved officers – Mills, as mayor, is the president; Gossett is vice president; Chrzanowski is secretary; City Secretary Ann Womack is the board’s assistant secretary and Mary Moore is treasurer.
Mills presented commissioners with his slate of appointees for various boards and commissions. The recommendations, all reappointments, were approved unanimously and without discussion.
For the planning commission, Chair Michael Bryan, Julie Davis and Jim Ellison were reappointed. For the board of adjustment, Jan Konesey and Mark Saunders were reappointed. For the parks and shade tree commission, Kathryn Downs and Marti Marino were reappointed. All of the reappointments have a term that runs through September 2026.
Stormwater task force
As part of his duties as commissioner, Lagree had been the chair of the city’s stormwater utility task force, a group created by the city to make recommendations on how to best implement a stormwater utility so the city can make millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements.
By unanimous approval, commissioners agreed Lagree is still the best person to chair the task force. Mills said standard practice by the city has a commissioner as a chair, but that was done in large part because the expectation was that a commissioner would be best suited to follow Freedom of Information Act requirements. Lagree knows the rules, said Mills, who himself chaired the boardwalk and beach committee while a member of the general public.