Fenwick bids farewell to outgoing officials

As July came to a close, three people approached retirement from their duties at Fenwick Island Town Hall.

After 10 years of service apiece, outgoing Town Council Members Diane Tingle and Bill Weistling Jr. opted not to run for reelection this year. Meanwhile, Merritt Burke IV served his final days as town manager before becoming CEO of Sussex County Association of Realtors (SCAOR).

At their last regular council meeting on July 22, Mayor Gene Langan thanked the three for their service and presented official commendations.

Citizens and town staff also offered their heartfelt thanks throughout the meeting, with compliments and applause.

“I wanted to thank Town Council for a great tenure” and the town staff who supported his projects and initiatives, Burke said. “We really accomplished a lot.”

“The town is fortunate to have someone as innovative as you, as evidenced the many changes and improvements to the town,” said Building Official Pat Schuchman.

Burke recalled the first-day advice Weistling gave him for a successful tenure: get the budget under control, and go find some grant money for this town. Burke has led Fenwick Island to nearly $400,000 in grant funding since that day in March of 2012.

“Bill, thank you for that great advice. Diane, you’re definitely a person of very few words, and your passion for the community is unprecedented when any topic comes back. I think the town staff really respect the history you have with this town,” said Burke, complimenting her energy.

Tingle said she still recalled a challenge someone threw at her on her first election day, saying she’d better be ready to work hard.

Now, on her way out the door, the retiring council secretary noted that the fourth generation of Tingles — her grandchildren — now enjoy Fenwick Island.

“You’re so lucky to have such dedicated employees at this town,” Tingle told the audience. “Thank you.”

Weistling has been active to the end, as chair of the Charter & Ordinance Committee.

“It’s been a pleasure. I’ve lived here for 23 years full-time. I always participated,” slowly joining committees, Weistling said. He then joked, “I’m still here. I’m year-round, whether you like it or not.”