WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Wilmington City Council members: Are you now a little nostalgic for Mayor Baker?

Perhaps they're just growing pains - the inevitable slips for a new mayoral administration in Wilmington - but it seems Mayor Williams has suffered more than his share of missteps since taking office. (Some might say debacles.)

Maybe my memory is getting foggy, but I don't recall such a rocky road - at least at the start - for Mayors Frawley, Sills, or Baker.

Some of it might be attributable to factors far beyond Mayor Williams' control: The fiscal problems now confronting many of this nation's mayors; drug-fueled, street crime; etc.

Some of it might stem from Williams' background as a cop, his mental map of a command structure.

Whatever the causes, we now have a ferocious confrontation between the new mayor and most members of city council.

Mayor Williams now threatens to veto the amended 2014 budget from Council. Council wants to ditch the Deputy Director of Parks & Recreation and erase the salary hikes for some of Williams' top people.

The mayor characterizes council's quarter-million-dollar allocation for youth initiatives as a "slush fund".

Futher, he accuses council members of violating the state constitution with their amendments.

Perhaps, in isolation, this budgetary clash could be chalked-up as a new executive and the legislative branch "testing" each other.

But, some critics sense repeated political tone deafness from the new mayor, whether it be the perceived nepotism from hiring the kids of advisers in his inner circle or seeking raises for three staffers just after taking office.

(As a "compromise", Williams proposed ditching those raises, but City Council President Theo Gregory says that concession is moot, because council had already ditched the raises.)

In the end, Williams' critics might excuse much of this if it seemed the new administration was showing success with Wlliams' number-one campaign promise: Curbing street shootings.

Maybe it's unfair to expect demonstrable progress on that so soon, but, as a candidate, Williams did promise to show visible progress within half a year.

(As a moderator of several mayoral debates, I remember saying to myself that Williams would need a miracle to pull that off!)

UPDATE: City Council members Thursday night passed their amended budget, promising a Mayoral veto, and the City Council President thinks he has the votes to override that veto. This doubtless will set the tone for Mayor--Council relations in the months and years ahead. Trench warfare.

Posted at 8:08am on May 16, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, May 16, 2013 11:29am

They should give raises to the rank and file employees before they give raises to "Williams's top people."

Thu, May 16, 2013 2:12pm
I remember an earlier blog post by you mentioning that the Mayor was surprised at the size of the budget. Apparently, prior to his election, he had never reviewed the budget of the City of Wilmington. This is much like Christine O'Donnell having no idea where to cut the NCCo budget. This followed criticism of her opponent for tax increases.

Sounds like one of the earliest questions directed to candidates in future debates is: "have you looked at the jurisdiction's budget?"

Allan Loudell
Thu, May 16, 2013 2:20pm
Yup. Good point!

Thu, May 16, 2013 3:04pm
Well thought. That is a great question. It's early asking could prevent a lot of wrong people from gaining office....

Thu, May 16, 2013 7:48pm
They should have elected a Republican.

Thu, May 16, 2013 11:23pm
well it sounds like Williams is taking out all his hostility on the Council... and Baker,,, if I remember right, was good for taking it out on the press... or reporters who dared enter his lair...

Thu, May 16, 2013 11:34pm
I don't agree. Mayor Baker didn't do anything to make this city like the other city. Leave Williams alone and let him make Wilmington what is should be. I don't regret having Baker as a mayor. Nothing good for the city to get it on the map except for boring land. Plus Baker uses too much foul language.

Mike from Delaware
Fri, May 17, 2013 11:37am
JimH: Well said.

Fri, May 17, 2013 9:33pm
I need help from the Vman112. What do you mean when you said this:

"Mayor Baker didn't do anything to make this city like the other city"

The question I need answered to follow what you are saying, is "what other city?"...


Sat, May 18, 2013 11:24am
kavips: I think he meant like ANY other city. Just some bad grammar.

Mon, May 20, 2013 2:17am
Baker will be remembered for his development of the Riverfront and the business part of the city. That was his focus and those sections blossomed. They are awe-inspiring today. However one cannot look front and back at the same time. The residential areas were not coddled. The new mayor is focused in that direction. That is how the vote went. There will be less attention to the inner city...

Just arrest and process everyone who loiters and jaywalks, and soon the crime in residential neighborhoods will diminish. If, for no other reason that all its perpetrators are sitting in holding cells awaiting arraignment on very minor and superficial charges.. ...

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