Trio leaves mark on county

The group announcement Tuesday morning that three Sussex County Council members would not be seeking re-election this year has certainly grabbed headlines and facilitated conversations throughout the community this week, and with good reason.

Some Republicans in the county rejoiced because all three councilmen were Democrats. Some environmental groups celebrated because they have targeted the council for years as being pro-development. And some news people danced in front of their computers because it meant there was major news coming out in the middle of summer.

But there’s another reason to discuss the decisions by Councilmen Dale Dukes, Finley Jones and Lynn Rogers — the three leave behind records of long service to the county, and move on with their lives with the knowledge that the county government is in strong financial shape.

Dukes first arrived on the Sussex County Council in 1988. Jones and Rodgers starting serving in 1996. That’s a combined 44 years of service to residents of Sussex County, and that experience will not be easily replaced.

We have taken exception in this very space to numerous decisions made by the Sussex County Council over the years. And, many of those decisions were voted on by the three men we discuss in this editorial. We felt like we argued on behalf of the readers in this specific community, and we still stand by those arguments today.

However, there is also a need by us at this time to point out just how hard all these men have worked in service of each of us over the years, all while serving in positions that are vulnerable to verbal slings and arrows from the media, other politicians and citizens alike. In short, we thank these men for their fine public service, and wish them all nothing but the best in the new chapters in their respective lives.

There is no shortage of candidates looking to fill those slots, and early indications are that there is a full slate of very qualified people to move onto the council. And, locally, Councilmen Vance Phillips and George Cole will be the two incumbents to remain on council when all was said and done.

But it will be different without Dukes, Jones and Rodgers on board, and we thank them again for their commitment.