Town Council Orders Delay to Dewey Report,
Chair Resigns Due to Interference and then Rejoins Audit Committee
Photo Caption: Aerial drone photo of eight of the 36 military vehicles unveiled so far by the Dewey Beach Police Department, in a lot in Lewes, Delaware. DCA is petitioning town Council for Transparency on the location of the other approximately 24 vehicles.
During "Sunshine Week", a national initiative to highlight the fact that "government functions best when it operates in the open”, the Dover Post unveiled four new articles (see links below) about the huge involvement of the Dewey Beach Police Department in the Military Surplus program. These articles provide new information which continues to raise concerns not only about why the Dewey Beach Police Department would need or want 36 military vehicles but why the police department has only revealed eight of those military vehicles.
The Dewey Town Council, apparently moving in the opposite direction from sunshine, at its monthly council meeting delayed the release of a completed and audit committee-approved "review” of the police participation in the Military Surplus Program. The review was approved by the Audit Committee for release but the Mayor held it up, apparently because the Audit Committee asked for resignations by some officials who had been involved in as yet unspecified matters. We are urging the release of the report as soon as possible as it's been over six months since the “off budget” surplus program came to the attention of residents.
Larry Silver, the Audit Committee Chairman, resigned last week due as he stated to “emails he received from the mayor” TJ Redefer. The trail of emails sent out by the mayor later indicated interference by the Mayor to make this report final before the audit committee had a chance to review it. Three days later Mr. Silver, a CPA, agreed to rejoin the committee for the purposes of releasing the report, but the report was held back by the Mayor as indicated in the previous paragraph.
The unique and serious nature of the Dewey police problems was pointed out in an editorial in the Cape Gazette today, highlighting the fact that the Mayor sought to downplay the problems by remarking that other municipalities and their police departments are also working through issues. The editorial pointed out those challenges are far less than that Dewey faces.
As a result of a freedom of information request received this week, the State of Delaware has released information that the Dewey Beach Police Department’s military surplus program has not been audited since April 2013, showing that none of the $2.85 Million of equipment that Dewey has received since 2014 has been reviewed by the state. This is in direct contrast to Commissioner Bauer’s assertion as part of a Council presentation that “the state actually does the accounting for us.”
Delaware officials further contradicted Commissioner Bauer by stating in a Dover Post article that they don’t track what happens to non-controlled gear that falls off the annual inventory and the state coordinator’s office itself isn’t required to report to anyone about statewide activity of the military surplus program.
As of today, Dewey Citizens for Accountability has received 87 signatures on our petition to ask for accountability from the Town of Dewey Beach. It would be great to have over 100 signatures, especially given the continued delays and stonewalling from the Town Council. Please join us by signing thepetition today.