Tributes should not be Sussex’s focus

May 5, 2023

There are many crucial issues facing Sussex County Council, including development, protection of natural resources and traffic concerns.

Creation of rules to regulate tributes, resolutions and proclamations from council should not be an item on council’s priority list.

Council President Mike Vincent has proposed that the council's rules of procedure be amended to provide a path forward to issue them. Vincent said it's important for council members to be aware of all tributes issued on behalf of council.

The proposed changes would require all tributes and proclamations be filed in writing and circulated to council members. A member could request that they be placed on an agenda to be reviewed for approval or denial by council.

Another amendment would require all tributes and proclamations be assigned a number to identify the document and its content.

Council has functioned without any rules regarding tributes for decades, so why now?

The issue has come to the forefront due to the actions of District 3 Councilman Mark Schaeffer of Lewes, who regularly hands out tributes to worthy groups and individuals in his district.

It was supposed to be discussed during council's Jan. 24 meeting and then again at its April 25 meeting, but without Schaeffer in attendance, Vincent postponed the agenda item to a future meeting.

It's not on council's May 9 agenda.

In the meantime, Schaeffer continues to hand out tributes. “I believe any individual or organization who achieves or has achieved or accomplished an extraordinary or noteworthy achievement should be recognized,” he said.

“I pray that after reflection, we as a group would move on from this charade toward the many more pressing and important issues facing Sussex County,” he also said.

Those are strong words from the councilman, but they are worth considering.

During his 15 years on council, President Vincent has been an effective leader and a voice of reason. We can only hope he back-pedals away from this issue.


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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