Cordrey to challenge Phillips in District 5

Democrat Dennis V. Cordrey of Millsboro, director of personnel for Sussex County, has filed to run against current Sussex County Council President Vance Phillips, a Republican, for the District 5 seat on the council. Republican George Cole of Bethany Beach is currently running unopposed in District 4, but the Sussex County Democratic Committee could appoint a candidate to oppose him in the coming months.

Cordrey said this week that he has plans to retire from his position with the county – a position he has held for the past 30 years – saying that will enable him to “focus all my attention on the issues affecting Sussex Countians.”

He further explained that many residents in the Fifth District have contacted him about running for office “to bring change to the culture of county government, continue to curb spending and help create good paying jobs in Sussex County to put people back to work.”

Cordrey said that, although he is a supporter of property rights, he also wants to see land-use decisions that are made “with a greater emphasis on infrastructure.”

“I want to make sure that the people of Sussex County are getting their money’s worth from their government,” he said. “We have cut a lot of jobs in the county through attrition and early retirement, which is good for taxpayers, but that puts a lot on the backs of other county employees who haven’t had a cost-of-living raise in two years. We need to figure out a way to pay our employees fairly for their hard work and continue to provide quality services for all residents.”

Cordrey lives in Millsboro with his wife, Debbie. He has two children and four grandchildren. He is a past president and current member of the Millsboro Jaycees and has been involved with Millsboro Little League for 23 years. He also served in the Delaware National Guard for six years, holding the rank of sergeant, and is a member of American Legion Post 19 in Laurel.

Phillips, who has been the county council president since January of 2009, said he really enjoys serving on county council and described it as a “life-changing experience,” adding that it allows him the opportunity to serve the residents of the county on an almost daily basis. “Protecting Sussex County taxpayers is my No. 1 priority” he said.

Phillips explained that, while other governments and municipalities have struggled with rising taxes and layoffs, as well as resorting to cutting services, Sussex County has been able to hold its own.

“Every other county and state government has raised taxes, had layoffs and cut services, yet because of the conservative principles that I promote, we have been able to balance our budget without raising taxes, without taking out of our savings and without layoffs.” He added that the “belt-tightening measures” have even allowed for Christmas bonuses and merit raises for employees.

Through attrition, and a “well-crafted early retirement plan offered to employees,” Phillips said, they have reduced their workforce from 550 to 500 and, in 2009, they cut the 2010 fiscal budget by 16 percent. In 2010, they made a “modest 1 percent increase” for the 2011 fiscal year.

“More government and more regulation leads to more bureaucracy, which leads to higher taxes,” he concluded, saying that, in short, he is a “friend of the taxpayer.”

Phillips is a sixth-generation Sussex Countian and grows watermelons on his family farm in Laurel.

All county council seats have four-year terms. Seats for Districts 1, 2, and 3 will be up for election in 2012. The council selects a president from the representatives at their re-organizational meeting after each election, in January.

District 5 includes Laurel, Millsboro, Dagsboro, Delmar, Frankford, Selbyville, Fenwick Island and South Bethany. District 4 includes Ocean View, Long Neck, Henlopen Acres, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach. For in-depth voter district maps, visit online.

To be eligible to vote in the state of Delaware, voters must be United States citizens, residents of Delaware (proof required), 18 years of age and mentally competent. The general election is set for Nov. 2, 2010. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling places include the new Indian River High School, Millville Fire Hall, Lord Baltimore Elementary, Bethany Beach Fire Hall, Fenwick Island Town Hall, Keenwick Sound Club House, Roxana Fire Hall and Selbyville Fire Hall, as well as the DOT Transportation Building in Georgetown, Laurel High School, Delmar High School, Delmar Fire Hall, Gumboro Fire Hall, East Millsboro Elementary, Frankford Fire Hall, Dagsboro Fire Hall, Millsboro Fire Hall, Millsboro Civic Center, Indian River Fire Hall, Long Neck Elementary School and Mid-Sussex Rescue Squad. For more information and address visit

For more general information, visit the Sussex County Department of Elections at