Frankford decides to seek DSP coverage

Date Published: 
Nov. 10, 2017

The Town of Frankford has been without constant police protection, following the unexpected resignation of its last Police Chief Mark Hudson on July 27.

Over the last few months, the Town was in talks with the Town of Dagsboro to unify police departments, however, Frankford council announced on Oct. 4 that it would “not pursue the merger.”

At its Nov. 6, regular council meeting, the council voted unanimously to seek police coverage from the Delaware State Police.

“To hire a new police chief to spend upward of 50 percent of his time doing administrative work and maybe half of his time doing actual police work, spending $90,000 on that, plus new police vehicles, plus liability insurance… To me doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said councilman Marty Presley.

“I agree. I’d like to have a town police force but we don’t have a budget for it,” added councilman Greg Welch, who wished the Town could’ve worked to unify their department with that of the Dagsboro Police Department. “It’s a shame we didn’t have the money to do it… Down the road, if we can grow, hopefully we can do something with Dagsboro in the future.”

Presley said the town would be starting off with the Delaware State Police giving the town 12 hours of police coverage per week. At the Town’s Oct. 17, special meeting, Presley estimated that 12-hours of coverage from DSP would cost the town $53,664, annually.

One attendee said the 12-hours would be in addition to the patrols DSP already have in the area, noting that additional hours would not be toward administrative duties.

“You get more bang for your buck with the state police than you would with your own police department.”

Council voted 4-0, with council woman Pam Davis absent, to begin contracting with DSP.

Council discusses need for town manager

Presley said the Town should look into getting the ball rolling on allowing the Town to hire a town manager.

“He’s got to be the number one cheerleader,” said Presley. “We need someone who is going to come in and sell this town and have a vision for this town that’s going to pay off 10 years down the road…

“I think the first step, if we want to do that, we have to get our charter changed, because it doesn’t allow for a town manager position.”

Welch said he believed the Charter would allow for a town manager.

Presley said the Town should request its solicitor review the Charter to make sure the change would be necessary, and make the request by January, when legislative session resumes.

Resident Liz Carpenter asked if council would consider a public meet-and-greet with the future candidates and the townspeople.

“I don’t see why that would be a problem,” said Presley.

He noted that the salary that would be required of someone in the position could range anywhere from $65,000 to $100,000.

“If we can’t pay for a police department, how are you going to pay for it?” asked Carpenter.

Presley said the Town could look into structuring the manager’s contract for a year or two, so that their continued employment would rely upon the position bringing in business, development and revenue into the town.

“If he doesn’t do the job of bringing in his salary, plus, then you get rid of him,” he said.

Carpenter asked where the council is in the employee handbook and performance evaluations. Presley said employee evaluations have been conducted.

Travis Martin, owner of Chesapeake Plumbing & Heating, said he would be willing to help the council any way he could. He noted that his company employs 150 people, and he uses the “top grading” methodology when it comes to hiring. He also said he would sit on the search committee.

In other Town news:

• Council thanked Travis Martin, owner of Chesapeake Plumbing & Heater for his monetary donation of $5,000 that would allow the town to purchase a 20-foot artificial Christmas tree. The tree will be placed in Frankford Town Park during the holiday season.

• Envision Frankford’s Christmas in the Park will be held on Nov. 25, from 6 to 8 p.m. The free event will begin with lighting the Town’s Christmas tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be there in attendance to light the tree and kick off festivities, which include a light show, tasty treats and Christmas carols.

• Council thanked State Rep. Rich Collins for his help, along with the help of State Sen. Gerald Hocker, with paving the park’s new parking lot.

• Town Clerk Cheryl Lynch said she has been working with the town attorney to give property owners who are severely delinquent in paying their property taxes payment options.

• The town was able to auction off its 1947 Ford ambulance for a winning bid of $7,551.