Public Reaction to the Article: Piles of surplus: Dewey PD stalls on full transparency -March 2, 2018
This is looking more and more awful by the day and already a thorough cleaning out of the rogue elements in the Dewey police department responsible for this debacle seems needed. I applaud the reporting in this article and especially Comm. Gary Persinger for continuing to push for full disclosure from the Dewey PD in the face of persistent delays, obfuscation and excuses. The lack of interest, urgency and various excuses coming from the Mayor and the other council members (apart from Persinger) on this incredibly important matter continues to mystify...
Public Reaction to the Article: Dewey surplus equipment stored off Cedar Grove Road -February 27, 2018
There are basic fundamental points that deserve immediate answers and actions that should not divide us. Did a Town of Dewey Beach Employee participate in revenue driven activities beyond their scope of authority? What happened to the money or goods and who approved this effort? [In this case the LESO program and Dewey's Police Department]. If the Town employees involved claim they were granted the authority to do so they need to provide the authorization and records for each and every dollar and item.
It pains me to read below comments that in our lovely Town of Dewey, that those that demand checks and balances are attacked as enemies. Why attack someone who seeks the truth? What are the attackers afraid of?
As a person who loves Dewey, it ain't Lewes, and it ain't Rehoboth; it's an amalgamation of many things with a more relaxed view of the world. But that doesn't mean town officials should take their jobs lightly or play fast and loose with the rules. The LESO program exists to help underfunded police units get equipment they need to do their job. It was not created to be a hidden slush fund to be used whimsically without reporting to the town manager, commissioners or auditors, by a police force whose requested budgets were approved 100% each year while the town ran huge budget surpluses. That's right - if they needed another police car, the money was there; all they probably had to do was ask.
We don't need public servants who abuse their position. I hope this isn't true, but if it is, Dewey deserves better.
March 2, 2018
Can't believe this is been going on with little or no oversight on the Police Department. I can certainly understand why they wanted the ex town manager gone.
March 3, 2018
first, invest in a proof reader. Second, no, I didn't know about the program and as anyone who followed the town will attest, I was highly engaged. Therefore, the fact that I didn't know about it is telling. Interestingly enough, the town's auditors, who combed all its accounts every year also didn't know about the program. The issue of who knew and who didn't know, however, is a red herring. What matters is understanding what was going on and whether it was legal. I certainly hope everything turns out to be ok. As an aside, your comment above about being "comforted that people have had enough and we [sic] all want to get back to what makes Dewey shine..." is akin to an arsonist complaining about the smoke from a fire getting in their eyes.
March 2, 2018
How would ANYONE on the town council know about this program? The police department kept it off of the town books and never told anyone about it. Why a town that measures 1 mile x 1 mile needs 2+M of military equipment is beyond me.
March 2, 2018
I agree with your last statement. As to your question - it was well hidden. I only ever saw one vehicle (of the 36) in town - a humvee that would show up on heavy rains, and it was there before I started as a commissioner. I always assumed it had been purchased through regular channels well before my time. Jill's comment above that the Town Manager and the Mayor signed the checks to purchase the vehicles isn't true. I'll say again - our town auditors dig through all our accounts every year and they never found it. As someone in this thread said, the truth shall set you free, and thanks to Jeffrey's efforts, I think the truth will finally come out.
March 2, 2018
Chris - thanks for the good reporting, and Jeffrey, thanks for staying on top of this issue. It's important for the town and its citizens to have clarity about how the police participated in this federal program, including how much of the equipment was actually used (as the program requires).
March 1, 2018
I believe that radical transparency is the key that TJ is looking for to restore peace in our town.
March 1, 2018
Regarding Dewey Beach's massive military equipment and slush funds, TJ Redefer, the Town mayor, needs to complete the assignments unanimously agreed to by the Town council. He promised sunlight and I trust he will not let up until there is 100% accountability.
March 1, 2018
Although this snake pit existed before TJ Redefer came into office, he needs to pull out all the stops and push for full disclosure. He promised sunlight and I trust he will not let up until there is 100% accountability. Two of the questions still remain in my mind: 1) Why wasn't this $2M+ of surplus equipment on the town's books. It seems even the auditors didn't know abougt it? 2) The photograph in the article shows some of the bigger items, but since we have a complete, detailed and comprhesive list of everything that was provided by the military surplus program, every thing, including the flashlights, gloves, etc. needs to be accounted for. 80% should never be considered an acceptable number. 100% or bust..!
March 1, 2018
In response to the revelation of slush funds and undisclosed military equipment procured by the police department, Dewey's Town Council jumped off to do the right thing by passing motions at its November 11, 2017 meeting to identify the military equipment owned by the Town, and to engage an auditor to follow the money and a consultant to review Town practices.
I am very optimistic that with the work of its citizens and its Town council, Dewey will give a clean slate to the new town manager. That means no undisclosed equipment, no slush funds. Learning that "Town" military equipment is stored at a site off Cedar Grove Road, outside Lewes, is an optimistic next step.
March 1, 2018
Thank you, Jeffrey for your persistence in this matter. All we really care about is transparency between the government and it's citizens. Our questions must be answered.
March 1, 2018
what goes on in the dark, will come to light someday!!!!
February 28, 2018
Well... it took the Delaware Dept of Justice to force Dewey to disclose it: two weeks ago Gazette http://www.capegazette.com/.../dewey-citizens.../150802
'Smith said surplus items from the program have begun magically showing back up in town, and he said the town has recently begun storing some of the equipment in an undisclosed location.
Bauer confirmed some of the equipment is being stored in Lewes. "We cannot disclose the exact location due to security,"
So...The DOJ (Attorney General) letter demanding the it changed that answer. Dewey needs to start disclosing without being forced to, if it can do that on its own.
February 28, 2018
I was hired in August 2012 by Mr. Sam Mackert as the town's financial director. While the police department spoke of getting a humvee and other large items from the U.S. government, they never ever discussed auctioning for funds.
It was not until early 2016 that they submitted a large check to be deposited to their grant account, and requested it and additional funds to be used to purchase two new vehicles from IG Burton that it became known.
Since I had no record of a grant that was awarded the funds, I asked Sam and was told about the auction. At that time, I asked the police chief to please give me the details of the program so we can be sure we were following the proper accounting standards as set by the auditor.
Nothing was submitted to me.
Fast forward; it is now the end of summer. The police department gives the temporary accounts payable person a check for $35,000 and said deposit into their PD restricted account. I wrote up the event as a report and presented it to the town manager and mayor in place at that time.
The funds were placed in the town's expense revenue line used to report the town's sale of equipment/assets belonging to the town waiting for the police chief's submittal of the program details and activities since it was now the second time being requested.
I held this position for four years ending in April 2017. The $35,000 was still there at that time, unused. These were the only two auction checks submitted and recorded by the town. There are more specific details to expose when needed. I will have no problem testifying the truth of this.
Well here we are in January 2018, and where the hell is the Town of Dewey Beach in making Dewey attractive again?
Ever since the $2.5 million scandal involving the town's leadership - police, lifeguards and construction offices - came to light back in 2017, nothing substantive has taken place. These town officials are still on the job drawing income and maybe still receiving donations from the federal government for who knows what.
This scandal is Dewey's own Watergate. I don't see where any substantive action has taken place to make our tarnished town squeaky clean once again as it had been for years.
Where is the aggressive action from the mayor and his council to do the right thing for the good people of Dewey? We loved this town because we were proud of its character. But when the good character has been thrown under the bus - it's almost impossible for the town to be able to hold its head high again.
The mayor can advertise all he wants about the good programs and events that go on in Dewey, but you can't cover cow manure with sweet icing and hope it will cover the stink.
What needs to be done - and now - is to suspend the alleged violators and light a fire under the investigation and do the right thing for this town to have it cleansed so that our town is managed by people with good character.
Public Reaction to the Article: Dewey employees file harassment complaint Cape Gazette -November 24, 2017
The town and its employees have become an embarrassment to Delaware and a running joke around the county. The mayor made a good decision (separating applebaum) to move the town ahead, but the employees continue to drag the town down and bleed it dry.
Nov 27, 2017 7:46am
The Investigator’s 114 page Report on the employees complaint was clear, more objective than any of the feuding parties:
“We have concluded that Chief Mackert, Mr. Fritchman, and Mr. Mears are the catalysts for the Letter and Complaint...
“They have made very public complaints that are, in our view, retributive and in retaliation for Mr. Appelbaum’s involvement in areas they believe to be their exclusive province...
“We also have concluded that many of the claims asserted in the Letter are inflated, or are otherwise without merit, and are very likely occasioned by the Complainants’ resentment...
Nov 26, 2017 12:09am
Did you even read the article? All the town did is ask for an audit of the off the books police slush fund. How is that going after the alleged victims?
Nov 24, 2017 5:45pm
What did you read? No one is against the audit at all. Im not sure why you think anyone is against it. That said the EEOC complaint is very disappointing.
It would be wonderful if everyone in Dewey Beach could take this holiday season to focus on how much we have to be thankful for. We are truly blessed in Coastal Delaware.
My feeling is that some people have taken a different approach that appears to be less comprehensive and in so doing, must have given the appearance of being unfair to those that filed the complaint against the town. As Mayor I have specifically stated that we will not be taking any retaliatory action against anyone, and although our review of all policies and procedures must start somewhere, we are not targeting any specific department.
It is time for Dewey Beach to begin again.
Nov 25, 2017 12:19pm
I think you did the right thing terminating Applebaum's contract. It moved him out in an expeditious manner, during the slow season when the Town will have time to hire a replacement. Dragging the process out was not in the Town's best interest.
Nov 26, 2017 3:01pm
TJ Redefer thanks for responding and addressing this serious issue. question is this all about money?
Nov 26, 2017 5:21pm
The Dewey police had a million dollar plus slush fund including 36 vehicles acquired (rumors only 2 made it to town) and they believe it's retaliatory for the town to have an outside auditor investigate? The only reason to be against an audit is if something was done wrong and the officers are now scared they will go to jail/lose their livelihood due to some fraud that happened. Otherwise why be against an independent audit?
"The move to file a complaint came after council voted Nov. 11 in favor of investigating accounting practices used by the town’s police department for revenue from the sale of surplus military equipment – an issue made public during Walton’s investigation. The scope of the investigation can be expanded based on the initial round of inquiry.
“The last town council meeting made clear that this is retaliatory, which is illegal under federal and state law,” Cross wrote."
Nov 24, 2017 9:46am
Public Reaction to the Article: Dewey to investigate police slush fund:DEMA, other towns say rules, procedures being followed Cape Gazette -November 17, 2017
If the department heads are indeed innocent of any and all wrongdoing they have nothing to fear. However these questions should be asked and answered for accountability. And this lawyer they have Rick Cross he is unbelievable!- Nov 18, 2017 9:31 PM
Public Reaction to the Article: Dewey group wants answers on police spending:Newly-formed Dewey Citizens for Accountability calling for reform in town hall Cape Gazette -November 10, 2017
Thankfully, the Dewey Town Council today (November 11, 2017) approved an Audit of the Police Department's participation in this off budget military surplus program. The Mayor reports he even found a"fenced empty lot" to store this equipment. It includes: "over 30 trucks and trailers, a boat, a motorcycle, DvD players. Farm equipment, 2 mules, 4 tractors, 2 vans, 12 ATVs/carts, and a Wrecker, front end loader and 6 Humvees" but thats less than one page quoted of the five page inventory list that was obtained from the state and federal government as shipped to Dewey Beach. The police have never...
Nov 11, 2017 1:18pm
There was a strong effort to suspend the town manager with pay while the employee compaints were being investigated. However, I have not heard any suggestion that we suspend the people associated with this slush fund with pay. Is there some logical explanation for this??? Because in the case of the town manager we were talking about some alleged harrassment, discrimination, and dress attair, (most of which were unfounded or not proven), BUT in this case there is no question that there is $2.6 million dollars unaccounted for. Why does this apparent double standard exist?
Nov 11, 2017 12:18am
Totally agree. The mayor and Pauls ticket was a clean sweep for Dewey. A fair investigation is what the tile needs or it will be forever tainted. Let’s get this over and get to work
Nov 10, 2017 4:13pm
Many were quick to jump to a “guilty” verdict when it came to Appelbaum. The town leadership asked for patience as the matter was professionally investigated. The current town leadership needs to take this seriously and support a full investigation. If there is nothing to hide, I would assume that the accused would welcome an investigation.
Nov 10, 2017 2:30pm
It has been reported that the police chief may have intentionally misled investigator Max Walton when asked about the surplus program. Mackert said that "he believes this was the first time surplus property has been sold", referring to a 2017 sale that resulted in $100k profit for the town. But another officer contradicted him, and we know that the town has been obtaining federal surplus items as far back as 1999. Were his statements under oath?
Mayor Redefer, in defense of the police, said that the chief didn't tell the town about the program because "Mackert didn't trust Appelbaum" (CG, Dewey Police May Face Financial Investigation Nov 3, 2017) but this doesn't explain his secrecy for over a decade. Appelbaum did not become town manager until 2013.
The report can be found here: http://www.townofdeweybeach.com/index.cfm...
Nov 10, 2017 2:00pm
Article was fair, so just to add the dollar figure, its $2.6 million in military equipment to Dewey in past 3 years alone and it was all off budget not known to Council, Town Manager or the Mayor. Wow see: http://deweycitizens.org/index.php/issues
Nov 10, 2017 10:50am
Public Reaction to the Article: Dewey police may face financial investigation Cape Gazette -November 3, 2017
Very glad they are cleaning house and acting responsibly!
Nov 4, 2017 7:38am
Public Reaction to the Article: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Dewey Beach Police slush fund alarming Cape Gazette -October 20, 2017
The letter author is on target. Despite a couple of the comments, the facts show there was nothing miscellaneous about any of this. Why? The Dewey Police received $2.6 million in equipment “off budget” between 2013 and 2017. Dewey's Annual approved Budget amount for the police is $950,000, approved by the Town Council. So with the separate off-budget assets of $2.6 Million (over three years and never approved by Town Council) only half of the Town’s Police ‘resources' are being reported. Where is the other half, where is the equipment, where is the money spent, nobody knows yet!
To understand the level of worrisome absurdity, consider the report that a magazine did on the Dewey Police Department’s application for an armored vehicle. http://www.motherjones.com/.../new-documents-reveal.../ As with every missing dollar above, the acquisition application and expenditures by the police was not approved by Town Council or anybody. Stay tuned to this story.
Oct 25, 2017 12:39pm
Since when has unaccounted for money been considered an acceptable public practice? When in New England a few years back (less than five) I was a member of my town's Finance Committee. The chief of the PD reported to us that he had been offered items from the Defense Dept. and noted what items were involved. No unaccounted for slush fund - the department and it's head understood their responsibility to the community. We now apparently live in different times.
Oct 21, 2017 9:45pm
Not a joke. Money coming in is income.. There was no accounting for it
Oct 21, 2017 9:44pm
Public Reaction to the Article: Report: Dewey police have private slush fund Cape Gazette -October 13, 2017
Be interesting to learn if these guidelines, copied from the offical Government site, were being followed....
Know the regulations that govern Federal Surplus:
Federal surplus property must be placed into use within 12 months from the date of its acquisition
Federal surplus property must be used for a minimum 12-month period from the date it is placed into use
Federal surplus property valued new at $5,000 or more must be used for a minimum 18-month period. Aircraft, boats and gifts from foreign countries all have extended use periods.
Federal surplus equipment and supplies are restricted to organizational use only. No personal use of federal property is permitted
Federal surplus property cannot be sold, loaned, traded or torn down for parts during the minimum use period without prior permission from the program director
Federal surplus property is considered Federal Financial Grant-In-Aid and may require compliance under the Single Audit Act of 1984 and the provisions of OMB circular A-133
Failure to comply with these terms and conditions may require payment to the US Government for the value of the property . Oct 15, 2017 6:16am
(yes, trolls, this is anonymous. I don't want to be harrassed by DB police)