Sussex County Delaware

Fenwick Hires
Police Consultant
 
Fenwick Island

Chief's Attorney: We'll
Likely Seek Hearing

By ERIC MAGILL
SC Online Publisher

Voice Your Opinion on
F.I. Police Situation

The saga of the Fenwick Island Police Department took a couple more twists when Fenwick Island Town Council voted to hire former state trooper and Bethany Beach town manager Glenn Hudson as a "consultant" to the police department following an executive session on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2002.

Meanwhile, attorney James Liguori said he has been retained by embattled Fenwick Police Chief George Dickerson "to pursue issues of what they (Fenwick council members) say are dismissable reasons."

Liguori said that after conversations with Chief Dickerson, he expects the chief to ask council for a public hearing. He said any potential litigation wouldn't be filed until after such a hearing.

On Tuesday, council again refused to specify the chief's status. When asked, Fenwick Mayor Peg Baunchalk didn't say anything, instead looking at town attorney Tempe Steen, who said only "the chief is still an employee of the town."

When pressed, Steen said, "That's all you're going to get from the town. We don't discuss personnel matters."

Liguori said that Dickerson, who hasn't been at work since Monday, Aug. 26, continues to be paid.

Council took the 4-0 vote to hire Hudson, with Mayor Peg Baunchalk, Public Safety Commissioner Buzz Henifin and council members Richard Griffin and Harry Haon voting in favor of Hudson's proposal. The vote was taken after a three-hour executive session in which they discussed unspecified personnel and litigation issues. The council met with Hudson for about 30 minutes behind closed doors before voting to hire him.

The meeting was called without the required seven days' notice due to what council called the "pressing nature of personnel and potential litigation" and to "obtain a quorum."

Council just barely had that quorum, as council members Theo Brans and Peter Frederick were out of town and council member Vicki Carmean had to leave town unexpectedly to attend a funeral.

Hudson will be paid $25 per hour to provide advisory services to council in matters involving the police department. He has been hired for 45 days and the council may extend the contract if needed.

Henifin said Hudson would "analyze, evaluate and make recommendations regarding the operations, policies and procedures of the Fenwick Island Police Department."

Henifin further stated that he considered the move prudent considering the department's "past problems with recruiting and retention."

Councilman Haon agreed, saying, "This is a wise action for council to take."

Hudson most recently worked as town manger of Bethany Beach until resigning that post in 2000. Before that, he had been a captain in the Bethany Beach Police Department and spent 25 years with the Delaware State Police. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant with the DSP.


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