Connor calls for Sussex County code of ethics

Brad Connor, candidate for the District 5 seat on Sussex County Council, stated last week that, if he is elected, he will introduce an ordinance for a code of ethics for Sussex County.

“It is far past time for Sussex County Council to adopt a code of ethics for public officials and county employees,” Connor told his supporters. “Kent County and New Castle County have such a code. My town of Dagsboro and many other towns in Delaware have their own codes of ethics.

“Yet Sussex County is content to operate under the State of Delaware’s Code of Ethics, Title 29, as required by law for counties failing to draft an approved code of their own. In my opinion, this demonstrates a significant lack of commitment and little concern to weed out the potential conflicts of interest confronting County business every day.”

“All I’m asking is that our county takes concrete steps to earn the respect and trust of its residents that County decisions — which deeply affect all of us — be conducted at the highest ethical levels. We need a code of ethics, and we need it now,” he said.

Connor explained, “I encourage all Sussex residents to go to the State of Delaware’s website and read Title 29, Subchapter I — State Employees’, Officers’ and Officials’ Code of Conduct. I also encourage them to examine the online Kent County and New Castle County respective codes of ethics. Then ask yourself, are we holding ourselves to high standards in Sussex? Or can we do better?”

He pointed out that the State’s Title 29 begins with a very common-sense statement:

“In our democratic form of government, the conduct of officers and employees of the State must hold the respect and confidence of the people. They must, therefore, avoid conduct which is in violation of their public trust or which creates a justifiable impression among the public that such trust is being violated.

“No State employee, state officer or honorary state official shall have any interest in any private enterprise, nor shall he incur any obligation of any nature which is in substantial conflict with the proper performance of his duties in the public interest.”

As a Democrat, Connor will first be running against fellow Democrat and current county Planning Commission Chairman Bob Wheatley for the party’s nomination. The Democratic primary is scheduled to be held on Sept. 9. The general election for the county council seat, currently held by Republican Vance Phillips, who announced his re-election bid last week, is Nov. 4.