Jennings needs to be held accountable

January 21, 2022

A few weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the editor about holding our public officials accountable for their actions. Accountability, however, may easily escape even the most critical observer’s eye. I suspect that many readers thought that my letter was targeting our State Auditor, Kathy McGuiness, especially given the fact that it was juxtaposed with one from McGuiness about the accomplishments of her office in the last year. My real focus, however, was on Attorney General Kathy Jennings.

It is no secret that I am an ardent supporter of Kathy McGuiness. My trust in her is based on years of knowing and working with her, watching her perform in many civic roles, the personal commitment she has to noble causes, and getting to know the depth of her ethics and integrity that leads her to always do the right thing. My support is not blind. I have criticized the state auditor for hiring her daughter and her daughter’s friend – but there is no law against that. It simply was not the wisest thing to do. Others in Delaware, including AG Jennings, have appointed individuals, the AG’s husband for example, to far more lucrative positions in Delaware state government. 

I believe that the facts will prove that our state auditor is innocent of the charges brought against her. What really needs to be investigated and scrutinized is the motivation of AG Jennings to bring the charges against our state auditor in the first place. I doubt that few Delawareans watched the AG’s press conference announcing the indictments. You should; it is eye opening. I have watched many attorneys general and prosecutors announce charges against someone, but never one which showed such personal satisfaction and obvious use of public office to promote themselves. AG Jennings made it clear that she was doing the state auditor’s job. Could the real reason be that Kathy McGuiness was poised to be a strong competitor for governor in 2024?

The AG is not the only official who needs to be held accountable. As the former chair of the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission, I spent three years, along with other dedicated volunteer planning commissioners, collecting data, statistics and input from a variety of sources – e.g., residents, businesses, visitors and organizations. Over the last many weeks, I have watched the planning commission and the board of commissioners virtually discard the hard work and discredit the information collected in an unapologetic perversion of a comprehensive development plan that does not reflect the data or the blueprint for the city’s future supported by that data and most of the stakeholders in Rehoboth Beach. In fact, the newly constituted planning commission has never sought input from the broad base that previous planning commissions have. Nevertheless, the new majority is concocting a CDP based on their own perceived and unsubstantiated alternative facts and ignoring empirical evidence collected during the three previous years.

There has not been adequate attention during the final critical steps in the process (e.g., no advance disclosure of public and planning commission/board of commissioners comments on the draft CDP, no public comment permitted at meetings allegedly based on time constraints, which are self-imposed). The last meeting linked to a video of an earlier special meeting. Nevertheless, they are prepared to adopt, in an upcoming one-and-a-half-hour special meeting, a CDP that represents a perversion of facts the planning commission collected over the past three years. Instead, the CDP they are poised to recommend is based on erroneous facts, misinformation and unsubstantiated anecdotes and will ensure that Rehoboth’s future is doomed to relive an unsustainable past.

Richard J. Perry Jr.
Rehoboth Beach


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