told County Council's executive committee on Sept. 21 that
Gordon hadn't done so earlier because "he was waiting for the
attorney general to rule" between competing versions of what
Robert Hicks contended that attorney Timothy Mullaney's having
his principal residence in Kent County was in violation of the
law. Mullaney's position is that his periodic use of his
parents' home in New Castle County is sufficient to satisfy the
residence requirement. Hicks later referred the matter to the
state attorney general for a ruling.
came before the executive committee in response to Council's
personnel committee having unanimously decided to send Gordon a
letter urging him to fire Mullaney for having not responded to
Hicks's directive that the submit by Sept. 7 a plan for
rectifying the situation. All seven Council members sit on all
its permanent committees.
did not say what, if any deadline, was attached to Gordon's
say that both his and her intent was to "arrange it so the
county attorney will not resign and leave us without a county
attorney" during the remainder of Gordon's term. Ineligible to
seek re-election, he will leave office in early January.
also that she wanted to "get involved before the issue [reaches]
a peak of passion." She added that "people weren't aware of the
vehemence" with which some members of Council regarded the
issue. There have been indication that a formal resolution to
the same effect would be introduced if Gordon did not respond to
the letter. Council does not have the
authority to actually do the firing.
Councilman Penrose Hollins at the executive committee meeting
questioned whether Mullaney had a conflict of interest in his
ruling that he was in compliance with the residency law.
Freebery replied that several county officials who had discussed
the matter agreed with Mullaney's interpretation.
objected to the fact that the personnel committee brought up the
matter at its meeting without notifying the administration. "Mr.
Mullaney was not aware it was going to be a topic of
discussion," she said. He did not attend the personnel committee
meeting although he is a frequent attender at Council committee
Councilman William Tansey said that was an indication that the
legislative and executive branches of government often follow
separate paths. "We operate in a vacuum. It would be a lot
easier if we talked to each other," he said.