No plans to explain Rehoboth city manager contract

After saying he would, Mayor Mills no longer wants to justify groundbreaking agreement
May 17, 2024

Despite saying he would, Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said he no longer plans on explaining how he and his fellow commissioners reached the contract terms for City Manager Taylour Tedder.

“While I had intended to share some of the mechanics of how the commissioners arrived at the compensation package for Mr. Tedder, I am mindful that those discussions among my colleagues took place in the privacy of executive sessions as allowed by the Freedom of Information Act,” said Mills.

After a months-long, nationwide search, the city announced Tedder’s hiring April 8.

The terms of his contract include, among other things, an annual salary of $250,000, $50,000 toward moving expenses and a $750,000 house loan that will be forgiven in full if he stays with the city for seven years. He also is not required to live within city limits and is allowed to remain an adjunct professor at Wichita State University.

Tedder is filling the office of former City Manager Laurence Christian, who left in early November after 10 months. Christian had a salary of $160,000, with none of the additional benefits.

At the first commissioner meeting after announcing Tedder’s hire, constituents asked for commissioners to explain the contract. Especially, in light of the fact that the city had just passed a $38.7 million budget that included an increase in property taxes, parking rates, rental taxes, wastewater meter fees and a future increase to mercantile license fees to close a deficit in excess of $4 million. Commissioners also adjusted the projected revenue from Dewey Beach’s wastewater fees by $300,000 and decreased the administration contingency fund by $100,000.

There was no explanation given at that April 19 meeting, but Mills said he would provide one in the future. He then told members of the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association the same thing during its annual meeting April 20.

At the next gathering of the commissioners, a workshop May 6, again there was no explanation. Mills read a statement into the record, saying that he and all the commissioners stood by Tedder’s hiring. Following the meeting, Mills said an explanation would be forthcoming.

On May 10, Mills sent a letter to the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association. There is no explanation for how the contract came to be. Much of it mirrors the statement he read at the workshop.

“As we undertook the search, we became highly disappointed that several top candidates withdrew from consideration because they were being courted by other municipalities and due to concerns about salary and housing costs,” said Mills in his letter.

Tedder’s first day as city manager was May 15. His first commissioner meeting will be Friday, May 17. In advance of the meeting, Mills was asked if he would have the contract explanation prepared.

“There is no expectation of discussing his contract during the board of commissioners meeting,” said Mills.

Instead, Mills referred to the content of the letter he sent to the members of the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association.

“Taylour Tedder’s first day was yesterday, and he will attend his first commissioners’ meeting this Friday – we will be excited to introduce him to everyone,” said Mills in an email May 16.


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