Joint policing issue could be voted on at May 26 workshop


The Ocean View Town Council has a full plate for their May 26 workshop, including discussion of Councilman Perry Mitchell’s FOIA complaint and a resolution concerning providing police services to Millville.

Mitchell has sent e-mails to recipients of his e-mail newsletter protesting the manner in which the resolution concerning the proposal was made at the council’s May 12 meeting.

“If this proposal was legitimate, why could they not advertise it on the agenda like the other proposals are? Since it was brought out as the last item at the meeting, many had left the meeting. Is this the way we want to run our town when most citizens have not been noticed and most have left the meeting. I don’t think this plan meets the FOIA requirement, and is an illegal plan. Thus, the council has left itself open to a lawsuit on FOIA,” he wrote.

The May 26 workshop agenda has as its first item “discussion and consideration of and possible voting on: (1) resolution concerning a proposal to possibly provide police services to the town of Millville approved at May 12 regular meeting of the council, (2) Mr. Mitchell’s complaint to the Attorney General, and (3) subsequent actions, which might include voting again on Mr. Lawless’ May 12 motion as amended.”

The included synopsis of the items states, “Town Solicitor agrees that neither Council rules nor FOIA requirements were violated when Mr. Lawless’ motion was considered, amended and approved. Mr. Mitchell’s complaint to the Attorney General could delay discussions with Millville. Discussion at the workshop might make Mr. Mitchell’s complaint moot.”

The Office of the Attorney General this week acknowledged receipt of Mitchell’s complaint and stated that, as required by 29 Del C Subsection 10005E, they have officially forwarded it to Ocean View for a response.

“The Department of Justice has requested a response from Ocean View by May 26,” DOJ staff said in a statement. That response is due by the close of business on May 26. “Once the department receives the response, a written determination will be issued on the matter.”

Mayor Gordon Wood emphasized this week that the council had authorized himself, Councilman Richard Nippes, the town manager and the police chief to meet with Millville on the police issue “not to make a decision but to prepare us to respond.”

Mitchell stated in another one of his e-mails, which were also sent to the Coastal Point, that “the mayor clouds the issue by saying he only wants discussion. The council has already given him authority to discuss the issue with Millville. He now wants authority to provide rates and service. This is not discussion but a new issue. The mayor has not given us any facts to indicate time is of the essence.”

Mitchell announced this week that he will be out of town on May 26 and wanted to re-schedule the workshop. He has also protested any vote on the issue taking place at the workshop. Further, Mitchell has taken steps to form a group of “concerned citizens” to “fight this joint tax force, which will tax us to death if we let it. He has invited select citizens to a June 1 meeting at town hall at 7 p.m., to form that group.

As for what Millville officials think of all of the most recent drama over the issue, Millville Mayor Don Minyon noted that he has been looking at public safety issues since becoming mayor of the town and that it has been talked about extensively over the past three years.

“We have been looking at some public safety, looking at a stand-alone police department and looking at our neighbors in Ocean View. No matter what direction you take, it takes a long time to get started,” he said.

Minyon added that he has asked Millville Councilman Mike Jeffers to get some specifics on cost from Ocean View, adding that they don’t have “specific dollars and cents from them.” He said he gave Jeffers a time frame of 60 days to come back to Millville’s council with some more information from Ocean View.

The Ocean View Town Council work session will be held Tuesday, May 26, at 7 p.m. at town hall. The complete agenda is available online at www.oceanviewde.com.