Fenwick Island set to begin search for new town manager

Fenwick Island will keep the same town council for another year, but the town will soon be getting a new town manager.

Current Town Manager Win Abbott has accepted the position of town manager in Milton, so, after giving 60 days’ notice on July 22, he is expected to leave his post in Fenwick Island on Sept. 21.

“It’s been a great experience,” Abbott said of his work in Fenwick. “The people are wonderful, and it’s a wonderful place to be.”

Abbott said he now looks forward to the challenge of Milton, where he currently resides. He and his wife first moved to Milton in April 2009, when he took the Fenwick Island job, because the position required that Abbott live within 40 miles of the beach town.

Several noteworthy projects he recalled during his tenure are now complete, including installation of Mobi Mats beach-access mats, funded by grants, while some are just getting off the ground, such as the town’s new public safety building.

The town will not go without day-to-day leadership after Abbott departs for Milford. At a special meeting on Aug. 9, the town council voted to appoint Tom Wontorek as interim town manager. Wontorek previously served Fenwick Island as interim town manager during the time between Abbott’s arrival in April 2009 and when the previous manager, Tony Carson, departed.

Abbott said Wontorek is a retired gentleman who has served as the town or city manager of at least seven municipalities in the last 30 years, including the City of Lewes.

The search for a fulltime replacement will begin soon.

“We get so many types of résumés,” said Todd Smallwood, vice-mayor of Fenwick Island, who commended Abbott’s work for the town. “Win didn’t have any town manager experience, but he did grasp the position fairly well and fairly quickly during his tenure.”

Smallwood added that an ideal candidate might have town manager experience, especially in a small town with a police force.

Smallwood said Wontorek will serve as interim manager on a part-time basis, and the Town will begin advertising for a fulltime replacement around the time of the next town council meeting, which is set for Friday, Aug. 26.