WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Retrograde moves by new Gordon Administration in New Castle County

Ever since his election - indeed ever since it became apparent Tom Gordon would defeat then-incumbent Paul Clark in the Democratic Party primary for New Castle County Executive - longtime Gordon observers (perhaps a better word would be "critics") have been trying to figure out if the "new" Tom Gordon would be any different from the "old" Tom Gordon? That is... had this very talented - but flawed - politician learned anything from his first time in political oblivion?

For Gordon's critics, the initial tea-leaves suggest more of the "old" Gordon.

Case in point: Not necessarily Gordon's dismissal of County Police Chief Scott McLaren (certainly most of us would acknowledge a county executive has the right to choose a police chief with whom he has a level of comfort!), but Gordon's selection of Captain Elmer Setting as the new acting chief. One little problem: A permanent chief needs a college degree, as I understand it. (Okay, we can quibble about that requirement. It is what it is.) Setting now has about 60 college credits. Gordon hopefully suggested Setting would be able to earn that degree within a few months. Unlikely, even by Setting's own admission. One assumes, even as acting chief, Setting will have even LESS free time to take college-level courses. This could drag on for years!

One other wrinkle which brings us to Gordon's previous stint as county executive: Setting & family have stayed in a rented home owned by a duPont, Lisa Dean Moseley. Not just ANY duPont. Moseley, of course, figured prominently in the Federal corruption investigation of Gordon and former top aide Sherry Freebery.

In another development, Gordon's new chief administrative officer David Grimaldi abruptly lifted the county's outdoor smoking ban. According to The NEWS JOURNAL, Grimaldi reversed the ban after he discovered he couldn't conveniently step outside to light up.

The timing couldn't be more ironic. Some Delaware politicians the day before celebrated the decade anniversary of the state's public indoor smoking ban, which also sets a 25-foot, no-smoking perimeter around public buildings. So county employees will now be able to light up and puff just beyond that 25-foot barrier.

Grimaldi cites worker productivity in defending his reversal. He conveniently ignores all the data that smokers are more likely to MISS work days, not to mention setting a poor example for young people.

Indeed, Governor Markell wants to formally make the areas around all state government buildings into smoke-free zones, in addition to the buildings themselves.

All this wonderfully illustrates how Gordon & company march to a different drummer than many other Delaware politicians -- especially upstate politicians, D's & R's. Some people might find that distinctly appealing and refreshing, a little rebellion against political correctness. For others, though, it points to an earlier era and a dangerous retrogression.

Posted at 7:56am on November 29, 2012 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 8:48am
What this points to is once again: Politicians more concerned about themselves than those who elected them. Gordon and his ego believe they are above all others. Rules, policies, etc. Screw 'em, I''ll make my own!

And people wonder why there is apathy among most voters. Term we hear most is "voting the leser of two evils". Yea for Delaware...leading the way backwards.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, Nov 29, 2012 10:12am
The reason I heard folks saying that they wanted Gordon again in spite of his plea-deal with the courts (kind of implies he was guilty) was, because he didn't raise our taxes during HIS 8 years and look how nice Carosel Park is. So what those folks were saying essentially was, they don't care if the politician is corrupt as long as he/she doesn't raise my taxes.

Funny how people will look the other way if they are benefiting. No wonder politicians believe the rules / laws don't apply to them. There's enough folks who are ignorant enough, or have the morality of a snail, and keep voting for such politicians.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 11:22am
I have not been able to understand how voters could return Tom Gordon to government. In three years he'll be back in court again. Maybe this time, the charges will stick

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 3:54pm
Gordon was lucky to have been county exec during one of the best boom-times for the county. Real-Estate transfer taxes were at an all-time high. He had money to burn. For some reason, people think he had something to do with it.

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 5:36pm
On the other hand, Gordon has been in office before. Anyone who has taken over someone else's position, particularly a former antagonist, has a very short time to make changes before the backlash begins.

This is not abnormal. Clark made changes from Coons; Coons made changes from Gordon...

There was the same hassle over it back then too....

Bottom line, if you don't like Gordon, nothing he does will make you happy... I suppose the opposite is true too: If you like Gordon, you'll support everything he does....

I do question whether the smoking change will make a difference in efficiency. If smoking is sooooooooo easy to do now, won't people be doing it quite a bit more? That has always been my experience...

However, for an executive to say... "This rule is really silly; I'm getting rid of it," after being impacted, is well within his prerogative...

If I were Gordon, I'd put secret microphones around the smoker's table, just so I'd know everything that was going on in county government...

Thu, Nov 29, 2012 7:16pm
Thankfully, I live in Cecil County, where we just elected our first county executive under the new charter government system (it was previously a commissioner "good ole boy" network). Not only is Tari Moore a woman, but she's also a Republican. In fact, Cecil County is probably the greatest Republican safe haven in Maryland. We even got rid of our liberal Republican congressman, Wayne Gilchrest, and now we have Andy Harris, a true conservative representing us in Washington.

Sorry New Castle County, but you got shafted again!

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 5:43pm
Cecil County was also the last American bastion of the KKK back in the 90's... I hope that organization is truly gone, and not stealthly embedded in the Republican Party there.

Sun, Dec 2, 2012 10:12pm
Kavips: Now there's something I can agree with you on.

I think there are still some remnants of the KKK in Rising Sun, but I suspect their numbers have dwindled since then.

As far as their politics go, they seem to lean towards Hitler's Third Reich. I sure hope there are none of those in MY party.

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