to take another look at this. Is it necessary to double country
government?" said Rick Browne, chairman of the civic council's
committee concerned with the issue. In any event, he added, the
issue has to be decided between now and the time the Assembly
adjourns at the end of June because, once Council is expanded,
it is almost certain that it will not be reduced in size.
requires reapportioning the county from six into 12 districts in
time for the 2004 election. The president of council would
continue to be elected on a countywide basis. In preparation for
the change, all six Council members were required to stand for
election to four-year terms in 2002. They will continue to serve
past 2004 while six new seats would be filled for four years.
there has been some attempts to change that since the law was
enacted several years ago, the legislature has not shown much
inclination to do so. County Council's official position is that
the body should have nine members plus a president. Council
president Christopher Coons said that he received "a
pleasant, polite but cool reception" in Dover when he lobbied
for that last year.
Brandywine Council president Daniel Bockover told the Brandywine
Council's meeting on Jan. 9 that state Representative Robert
Valihura has agreed to introduce a resolution when the Assembly
convenes to establish a legislative committee "to study the
issue to see if there is a need for change." Valihura did not
attend the meeting. The only legislator there was Charles
Copeland, who will take his seat in the state Senate on Jan. 14.
He did not comment on the matter.
strongly pushed for the civic organization to take the
initiative to lobby for repealing the law, claiming at one point
that "something rather awful is going to happen to New Castle
County" if it does not do so.
after announcing Valihura's intention Bockover quipped, "When
you are a legislator, a good way to handle a problem is to do a
study," support for the lawmaker's plan was included in a
four-part resolution passed by 26-to-3 margin.
resolution also called for the present law to be 'rescinded' --
presumably meaning it should be repealed -- and for County
Council to again formally declare how large it thinks it ought
to be and for calling upon Governor Ruth Ann Minner to take a
Discussion leading up to the vote found participants advocating
support for a Council of varying sizes. William Narcowich,
president of the Civic League for New Castle County, said that
organization favors having eight Council members, largely on the
grounds that the present arrangement allots only one
representative to the large and rapidly developing southern half
of the county.
challenged Ernie Cragg's objection to expanding County Council
noting that, as a Republican Party official, he supported an
unsuccessful effort to expand both chambers of the General
Assembly during the 2002 reapportionment battle.. "At the state
level, Republicans want to increase [the size of the
legislature] but the the county level, they have a different
position," Narcowich said. Cragg is chairman of Brandywine
Council's legislative committee.
Rubenstein, who introduced the resolution that was approved,
said he supported the idea of a legislative study commission
because it would allow whatever is ultimately done to receive
"due consideration, which I do not think occurred when the
[present] legislation was passed."
that expanding from six to 12 Council districts, would cost
county taxpayers more than an additional half million dollars a
year in salaries and employment benefits for members and their
aides part from additional costs for such things as office space
Stewart said her main objection to an enlarged Council is that
"it will subject us to listening to 13 speeches on every action
instead of the seven we get now."