WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

'Nepotism' likely to hurt Wilmington Mayor Williams only if other things turn out badly...

The Sunday NEWS-JOURNAL carried an extensive account of hires in the new Williams Administration, notably two cases of parent-child hires in the mayor's office.

Drawing the most attention (as noted earlier): Mayor Dennis P. Williams' enlistment of Velda Jones-Potter (whose candidacy for State Treasurer went down in flames), wife to Williams' cousin, Charles Potter, Junior, as the highly compensated, chief strategy adviser. Simultaneously, Potter's son, Brandon, was the beneficiary of a newly minted, marketing job in the mayor's office.

Leonard Sophrin becomes director of policy, and his son, David, becomes an administrative assistant.

In short, a dozen people involved with Williams' transition team ended up with full-time employment in Williams' new administration.

The new administration insists the hires have excellent credentials, and in the cases of Brandon Potter and David Sophrin, are tangible evidence of the administration's commitment to putting new young faces in city government. (Yet, as The NEWS JOURNAL notes, the Williams Administration did not publicly concede the hiring of those two young faces until the newspaper asked about those names more than a week ago.)

A few "good government" transparency types are already blowing the whistle.

My prediction: This dust-up will fade into memory if the Williams administration makes good on some of its promises, notably, to reduce the epidemic of shootings and to respond more quickly - and actively - to concerns in the neighborhoods.

(For now, the shootings have continued, even in the bitter cold of winter... now, with one fatality.)

But, if little changes - and the Williams Administration is merely seen as a job-employment program for relatives & cronies - it's possible some folks could get downright nostalgic for ex-Mayor Jim Baker...

Posted at 7:45am on January 28, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 9:24am
In politics, nothing but crimes involving children can hurt your career. Markell gave Baker the highest honor in the state for being the mayor during soaring tax-hikes, rapidly decreasing resident and business populations, and a city that is one of the most unsafe in the nation. In Delaware government, this is to be lauded.

Mike from Delaware
Mon, Jan 28, 2013 9:35am
Wilmington used to be a nice city, a place I was proud to tell folks I was from. It hasn't been that way for many years. Suburbanites want NOTHING to do with the city and wish there were a moat around it to contain the crime. Why is that? Too many of the city's residents have what I'll call the "Ghetto attutide". They see the cops as the bad guys, not the guys who can help rid their neighborhoods of this violent crime.

Until THAT attitude changes within the city, so that the residents are actually helping the cops rather than being a barrier to the cops doing their job, the violent crime problem there won't change.

Rather than learn from others who had success in ridding their cities of crime, like NYC Mayor Giuliani, Wilmington's mayors and city council would rather NOT try something tried and true, but fool around wasting the taxpayers' money.

The fact that the new mayor is picking family and friends for city jobs is just another example of why the city IS NOT the place to be someone. It's the place to avoid like the plague.

Mon, Jan 28, 2013 5:52pm
Yep. Unfortunately, you're right. I feel much safer in Chester, which statistically is the murder capital of Pennsylvania.

Thu, Jan 31, 2013 2:49am
Wilmington is a lot better than Chester. Downtown Wilmington is one of the best small cities on the East Coast.

Gun violence is drug-runners killing drug-runners. If you are in that part of town, you must need drugs. You are safer in the business section of Wilmington than you are on any NRA shooting range..

The downtown area has matriculated into a small urban center, sort of like Austin, Texas.

Granted, Williams will have to stop drug-violence. The best way is a full-court press. Offer lots of carrots and then beat them up with lots of giant sticks...

Here is hoping that an anti-loitering law gets passed and then sweeps of every street corner can begin.... Fill the jails past maximum while you process them. Arrest 30 to 40 thousand... Just that many court fees could really help make Wilmington a place to be somebody...

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