Another Person Hurt

Sussex County Online User Forums: Fenwick Island Discussion Forum: Another Person Hurt
By Someone Who Has A Moral Consciense on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 10:12 am:

To The Taxpayers and Citizens of Fenwick Island

I understand at last night's Council Meeting it was announced that the Town's Financial Administrator was no longer with the Town due to the financial oversights of the past four years.

It appears to me that Mayor Baunchalk and Treasurer Griffin are equally at fault. Isn't it their responsibility to oversee these types of things? I find it difficult to see them still sitting on the bench after such a situation regarding finances for which they are accountable.

Now another person is hurt, the Past Financial Administrator. Where was the supervision? Why did Mayor Baunchalk and Treasurer Griffin not fullfill their responsibilities? Isn't Mayor Baunchalk responsible for Town operations and Councilman Griffin responsible for the Financial Records of Town?

Also, Commissioner of Public Safety Henifin, who has single handedly ruined the structure and operation of the FIPD, while creating another type of financial error for the Town, due to non-compliance with Federal Grants.

It seems that these councilpeople do not want to be accountable, only to transfer responsibility for the Towns problems to someone else.

It looks like a case of "we'll do as we want" and blame someone else. What a sad state of affairs for the Town's Citizens.

May I suggest to the Citizens of Fenwick Island to read the Town's Charter. Paying particular interest to the duties of the Council President (Mayor), Treasurer, and Commissioner of Public Safety. I believe you find them to be as accountable, if not more so, than Mrs. June Truitt.

The Town's Charter may be viewed by going to the 142nd General Assembly Web Site, opening on-line publications, selecting City-Town Charters, and then selecting Fenwick Island. I think you will find, as I stated above, the Council President, Treasurer, and Public Safety Commissioner are as equally responsible, if not more so, for this fiasco.

They must resign now of their own free will, or be forced to do so by a concerned public.

By Amie on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 09:02 pm:

...and a mispelled one too! conscience

In all fairness, why do you think Mr. Griffin should take all the blame? He's only been Treasurer for a couple months. There were other Treasurers' in those four years... didn't Chris Clark also hold this position sometime in those same four years?

I don't understand your reasoning in assigning total blame to only one. Could it be a grudge?

By Someone Who Has A Moral Conscience on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 10:38 pm:

To Amie

Please accept my apologies for the incorrect spelling of conscience.

To answer your question....No, I hold no grudges. I'm just an interested party who has been following the fiasco of Fenwick Island. I believe I read in one article that the non payment of Delaware Employee taxes was known by most councilpersons, other than a couple, one of which I believe was Vickie Carmean, for a considerable period of time. Why! Should not the Mayor and Treasurer have reported it to all council persons in a timely manner upon learning of the error.

Perhaps you are correct that Mr. Griffin was installed as Treasurer during the reorganization in August of 2002. But I believe that Mr. Griffin has been the Chairman of the Budget Committee for at least two years. It would appear to me, that he blindly led the budget process without a true accounting of the Town's past financial condition.

I work my budget and checkbook together, so that I handle my affairs in an orderly manner. Shouldn't excess bank balances versus checkbook balances have been identified during Budget discussions? Mr. Griffin prior to being Treasurer and other councilmembers have always voted to accept the Treasurer's Report regardless of who the Treasurer may have been at any given time.

That is my reasoning.........not a grudge.

By FED UP IN FENWICK on Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 11:46 pm:

You are right, The Financial Administrator was probably doing what she was told by her bosses (council) and unwittingly will now be blamed for everything. How convenient! These people should move up to the Federal Government level as they have shown they are truly out of their league in this small town. Mr. Henifin could then try his hand at ruining a much larger department than the FI Police...lets say the FBI?. I urge everyone to support Ms. Carmean, she, and possibly Mr. Brans, are the only members of Council who are trustworthy,honest and have integrity. This is proven by the fact the rest of Council waited as long as they could to tell them about the unpaid taxes. REMEMBER THEM AT THE POLLS!

By BEN-HUR on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 10:07 am:

To Amie
First if spelling is your primary concern you should volunteer for RIF. Your poor Mr Griffin is the treasurer of this town,therefore, as to monetary issues, the buck stops with him. Your Mr. Griffin is in favor of more tax increases(see minutes of Budgetary Meeting on Town website) he wanted a 20% raise this year and since the council threw the people a bone, with a 10% increase,don't think this is the last of taxes.He is,along with his co-conspirators,in favor of reassesing the whole town in 2003, which will happen if these people are still in office. You are right that the blame does not and should not fall on one person. The blame falls on Ms. Baunchalk, Mr. Fredrickson,Mr. Henefin,Mr.Griffin and the ever verbose , Mr. Haon. Do you realize that the possibility exists that this town is being run by people with a filing cabinet full of legal problems,and potential criminal charges,some of them felonies. They are now doing whats known as scapegoating,to try to push the blame for their misdeeds on others, so they can hang on to what they hold most dear to their hearts POWER. Unfortunately, they refuse to look at the truth,the anger of the people of Fenwick Island is palpable, there is a pall over this town,and it stinks like a chicken plant in full production. If they had one speck of dignity, or cared one iota for this town,They would resign enmasse and immediately. I've already heard that "this won't happen again","We are volunteers","We don't get paid for this" and the excuses will keep on coming.With only 228 people,there are condo associations that are much larger and much better run. One bad deed will always outweigh 1000 good deeds.

By The Rock on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 01:53 pm:

To Amie: There were numerous Treasurers during this time. Mr. Clark, Mr. Brans and Mr. Griffin were all Treasurers at one time or another during this period. Mr.Brans and Mr. Clark have stated publicly that they were told to keep out of the way of the Bookkeeper. Mr. Brans reaffirmed this at the January 31st meeting. The person who is credited with telling them to leave the bookkeeper alone is the apologetic Madame President. You can draw your own conclusions!!!! But in other scandals the CEO and CFO resigned.

By Amie on Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 05:13 pm:

To:The Rock Thank you for your insight.

Do you agree with SWHAMC that being told to "keep out" is a sufficient excuse to ignore a problem? and only the last treasurer (Mr. Griffin) should be slapped with all the fault?

Being fair here, If Mr. Griffin was the catalyst that finally got the audits done, why wouldn't we praise him instead of disgracing him?

By FI-Landshark on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 12:07 am:

Dear Amie--Your "if" is missing a basis in fact. Why would we praise someone who is still involved in the great audit cover-up? However, I will give you that Mr. Griffin is just one of the problems. Baunchaulk and Haon are right up there, followed closely by the master of disguise, Frederick. I was disgusted by what I saw at the meeting. Shame on you Ms. Baunchaulk, Mr. Haon, Mr. Griffin, Mr. Frederick and Mr. Brans for not getting one of the only things the charter requires--an audit.

By The Rock on Monday, February 03, 2003 - 01:10 pm:

To Amie:
I don't believe Mr. Griffin was the catalyst for the audits. Vickie Carmean was the only Councilperson I heard requesting audits. In fact Mr. Griffin made one of the most absurd statements I have ever heard when he said audits have nothing to do with budgets.At least he should recognize the need of reconciling written checks with the bank receipts. By the way where was he when the audits were presented at the January 31st meeting. I think he was out to lunch!Maybe he should think about taking a permanent leave of absence from the council by resigning. That would be the best thing he could do.

By Chris Clark on Sunday, February 09, 2003 - 11:16 am:

Dear Amie,

If you are going to bad mouth people in a public forum, please have the courtesy and guts to fully identify yourself.

To put some things into perspective.

Yes, I was the treasurer, after Theo Brans. I was asked by Peg Baunchalk to fill Richard Mais vacated council seat and to try and put the towns finances as well as run the lifeguard patrol. Barbara Hanrahan asked me if I was crazy to get on council and I thought that I could make a difference. Once I accepted the position, I was told that I would not be in charge of the lifeguards. I accepted this; but should have realized right away that this would be a sign of things to come.

I, like Theo, started to dig into the towns finances and tried to work on the town's software (additional training for employees or replacement). I was told to leave June and the office staff alone because they had too much work to do. It became apparent to me that the office was extremely inefficient and needed a complete overhaul. My hands were tied and I was ultimately responsible. Please keep in mind, at this time attendance at the council meetings was about 5-10 attendees.

I also was privy to a number of "executive sessions." At least a few times these "meeting" wandered far from their stated purpose. Tempe even brought this to the groups attention a couple of times

Despite being on council I only had circumstantial evidence of some of the improprieties. Until the lifeguard stand issue came along. I did not care if they got painted (btw, my business did not do anything with painted lifeguard stands until after this issued surfaced) I just wanted a fair decision to be made based on the facts. When the ultimate decision was voted on, I was not there, I was not even told about it and I was the one that had ALL of the facts that the decision should have been based on.

I then set up an appointment with Peg to discuss the issues that I was concerned with as a member of council that was liable for all of council's decisions. I spoke to her about how the council voted on public issues (5 bedroom 4 bath "house size" vote; you should try reading all of the returned surveys from the towns citizens), the financial problems, the closed door "executive meetings", and a few other minor items.

Peg was totally indifferent and my comments fell of deaf ears, so I resigned.

I resigned with the resolve that I was going to help Fenwick Island. I spoke to anyone and everyone that loves Fenwick. This included property owners (residential and commercial), renters (residential and business), the chamber of commerce, previous council members, council members, basically anyone with an interest in the past and the future of our beloved town.

I became an activist for the town and started rallying people and groups to attend council meetings and to get involved in all issues; not just the issues that affected them. I wanted to educate the public.

Now, Amie, the council meetings are standing room only and the public is starting to hold the council accountable. We still have a long way to go. I just hope that we have hit the bottom and are on our way to recovery. We have a LONG way to go, but I finally feel that we, the public, are headed in the correct direction.

One last item. Peg mentioned at the last meeting that Tom Sombar bumped into her at numerous public events and would ask when he could do the audits. Peg kept delaying him. Peg was responsible for June not getting the information together in a more timely fashion. Peg, admittedly, allowed June the leeway that led to this gross violation of the town charter. It is very disappointing that Peg let June take all of the blame.

If Mr. Griffin was the catalyst for the audits to get the audits done, he should have been more vocal and stood up for what is right and communicated with the public.

As always, Amie, my email address is and my phone number is 539.4485. I invite anyone to discuss any and issues pertaining to FI. I implore everyone to make sure you have all of your facts straight and get BOTH sides of a story before you pass judgement on anyone!

Chris Clark

By Amie on Monday, February 10, 2003 - 06:43 am:

Mr. Clark you read much more into what I wrote than what's there. Please re-read my words again. If my intention was to bad mouth you, or anyone, I could have said much more. :)

By Chris Clark on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 01:24 pm:

Hi Amie,

I revisited your comments and I am confused. You say that I held the position of Treasurer and you alluded to the fact that I am also to blame.

What was your intention?

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