Cape Gazette Endorses Gossett for Commisioner
July 17, 2020
Rehoboth Beach’s election won’t be decided until Saturday, Aug. 8. However, with requests for absentee ballots at more than 1,000, many people will be casting their ballots early. For that reason, we’ve decided to add our endorsements to the mix now.
Our support goes to Stan Mills for mayor, and to Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree for commissioners. Their direct experience with Rehoboth government, and the skill sets and approach to local governance they bring best position them to help navigate the tricky waters ahead.
Coronavirus has unquestionably created a difficult climate for decision making, but it has also revealed an expedience- and top-down-based mode of management over the past several months when extra time and effort would have better served. The initial total beach closure, removal of all benches, extensive and ineffective placement of red barriers along Rehoboth Avenue, and the clearly unenforceable requirement of masks on the beach show a pattern of impulsive overreach. Intentions were good, but with more input from commissioners and community stakeholders – especially those hit hard by the faltering economy – those decisions could have been more finely tuned and just as effective with less harm.
Mayor Paul Kuhns deserves thanks for his earnest efforts on behalf of Rehoboth Beach, as do candidates Hugh Fuller and Rachel Macha for their service and interest.
Mills, Gossett and Lagree, however, have demonstrated commitment to a more collaborative, transparent government. They’re about fundamentals such as the basic infrastructure that keeps Rehoboth Beach a safe and attractive city.
An inveterate wayfarer from his year-round residence in the heart of town, Mills is the epitome of management by walking around. He stays in touch with residents, business people and the town’s employees who know the city inside and out.
Gossett has proven a level-headed and patient listener. In a town where hotels are critical to the hospitality economy, his 20 years of employment with Hilton are a real plus.
Lagree, as a decade-long member of the city audit committee, knows and keeps a close eye on the numbers that represent the real workings of the city.
Rehoboth needs more stability. Mills, Gossett and Lagree offer that.
Vote Mills, Gossett, Lagree in Rehoboth
Anyone who serves as mayor or commissioner in Rehoboth must be well intentioned, doing so to advance their view of what Rehoboth should be. We should thank them for their service.
Normally, there is a gradual turnover of members of the commission, providing for a continuum of knowledge of the city business and what the voting public wants and what the city can afford.
For the past few years this has not necessarily been true, since the mayor and an unusually high number of the commissioners were new, permitting proposals to come forward which a more-experienced commission would have dealt with early on without the community involvement needed to resolve these matters.
Some examples are:
• Wanting to transfer ownership of water treatment facilities rather than holding the asset and selling capacity to the county or other municipalities to help pay the cost and realize a return on the city’s investment
• Having the state Public Integrity Commission criticize the commissioners and staff for working to allow a large theater project to be approved without complying with requirements other projects have to meet
• Laws on open meetings were violated multiple times, requiring citizen complaints as well as the attorney general issuing violation notices to get the mayor and commission members to comply
• Rehoboth commission meetings have always allowed public comment till every viewpoint has been heard. There was an attempt to limit public comment to a few minutes prior to agenda items being heard meaning the people commenting would not have benefit of what was presented in the meeting
• Continuing to pursue the proposal to allow entity voting in the municipal election which was opposed by a vast majority of the voting public as evidenced by the turnout at the public meeting which had to be held on the subject to put it to rest
• The proposal to allow Jolly Trolley to run a bus service through the residential neighborhoods which would have further congested the residential neighborhoods and increased tourist parking, taking away what parking is available to the residents
• Committing city funds to the dock coming off the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal when it was supposed to be built with private funds.
Stan Mills, Jay Lagree and Patrick Gossett will not have the problem of knowing rules and regulations or charter requirements.
They have extensive prior experience in Rehoboth city government as well as their fingers on the pulse of the entire community such that their experience will assure an efficient and cost-effective functioning commission. They will also work to get the city’s financial house in order which will require skills that Stan, Patrick and Jay possess as a team based on their backgrounds, experience and knowledge of city finances.
Former commissioners endorse Lagree, Gossett
On Aug. 8, we will elect two individuals who will serve as our commissioners for the next three years. The future of our city is at stake, and we must choose wisely. In the next few years we will need leaders who bring the experience and skills to help lead us out of the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, and who share our vision of preserving the essential character of Rehoboth Beach.
We need leaders who will protect our natural assets - our beach, our Boardwalk, our trees and our lakes.
We need leaders with the business experience and knowledge to manage our tax dollars wisely, especially in the time of reduced revenues.
We need leaders who will conduct business in the open, not behind closed doors as our current administration has done.
And we need leaders who ask for our opinions, listen to us, discuss all points of view and then act in the interest of all our citizens.
There are only two candidates for commissioner who combine all these qualities: Jay Lagree and Patrick Gossett.
We have served as city commissioners, and we know the level of commitment it takes, and the hours of effort required to be a good commissioner. We know that this is a demanding job, not something to do in your spare time. It is not the place for on-the-job training, especially in times of a pandemic and economic hardship for our businesses. And we know what it takes to have a great relationship with our city staff, in order to forge a successful working relationship and get things done.
Patrick Gossett, who served nine years on the planning commission and nine years on the city commission, has a proven record of accomplishment. He has been a consistent advocate for strong and sensible zoning and building ordinances to protect our city’s beautiful neighborhoods and unique history and character.
Patrick was a key author of the 2005 and 2010 Comprehensive Development Plans, the principal documents outlining the city’s goals and policies regarding future growth and the management of resources, and designed and led the public input process for those plans, in which hundreds of citizens shared their vision for our city.
No one has more detailed knowledge of the city’s finances than Jay Lagree. He served on the Rehoboth Beach Audit Committee for more than a decade, and has the financial background to help us ensure the fiscal stability of our city.
Jay also served on the board of directors of the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association from 1997-99, where he also served as RBHA liaison to Rehoboth Beach Main Street.
In 2017 Jay was elected by the board of commissioners to serve the remaining year of Paul Kuhns’ term of office when he became mayor in 2017.
On Aug. 8, or with your absentee ballot, join us to return our city government to responsible financial management, transparency, informed decisions in managing recovery from COVID-19, and furthering the values we all share. Join us in voting for Jay Lagree and Patrick Gossett. Together with their fellow commissioners and Stan Mills as mayor, they will make us proud once again to say we live in Rehoboth Beach.
Former Commissioner Sargent endorses Mills, Gossett, Lagree
Three years ago, Paul Kuhns was elected mayor of Rehoboth Beach with a promise of open government and fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, his first term has included very little of either.
Time after time, Paul has tried to do the business of the City of Rehoboth Beach behind closed doors. I would understand if a new commissioner technically violated the rules by emailing a couple of commissioners or having a conversation about city issues at a public event, but Paul actually created a committee to advise the commissioners and instructed them to meet in private, in direct violation of Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act. After serving several years as a commissioner before becoming mayor, he either did not know the law or did not care. Either should be disqualifying. How can you represent the people of Rehoboth Beach if your first instinct is to hide information from us?
Before he was elected commissioner, Stan Mills was an active citizen participant in the city. He knows as well as anyone the importance of keeping the people of Rehoboth informed and ensuring the free flow of information. Stan has always stressed that the citizens of Rehoboth are its greatest asset and an incredibly effective partner in governing Rehoboth - if we are informed and included.
Amazingly, in a misguided demonstration of fiscal naivete, Paul tried to give away the city’s wastewater treatment plant. As mayor, how can someone even consider giving away tens of millions of dollars of city assets?
Stan, Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree have been working on our behalf for years to ensure that Rehoboth’s finances are well managed. Their understanding of how the city works and how to get the most bang for our buck is unparalleled. I agree with the Cape Gazette that Rehoboth needs more openness and stability. Please join me in voting for Stan Mills for mayor, and Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree for commissioners.
Wall Street Mentality Bad for Rehoboth
Donna Mabry, July 21, 2020
I imagine Paul Kuhns can’t help it, since he had a long career on Wall Street, but a roughshod, investor-driven, Wall Street mentality is unhealthy for Rehoboth. It assumes that the ultimate bottom line is always making more money/more profit— never mind any other values, such as, quality of life and happiness (the secret sauces of Rehoboth’s longtime success). It assumes large investors are the most important constituents and should be served first and foremost.
It assumes the Board of Commissioners should be run as a Development Board—never mind focusing on traditional municipal services. In fact, give away our waste water treatment plant, so large investors (such as the ones the mayor himself is invested in) can get dramatically lower rates at the expense of small users (the vast majority), who’ll pay dramatically more. In fact, figure out various ways to shift costs from investors to lots of small users, like a reverse Robin Hood—such as, giving seasonal investors a discount on water and sewer rates, and let residents, year-round businesses, and our elementary school pick up the tab.
In addition to the above, it is disconcerting to have an absentee mayor in a crisis. In fact, with a new home in Maine and his Rehoboth residence on the market, it seems the current mayor has one foot out the door. Many are wondering if he’d even serve out another full term —and, if he were to resign, Rehoboth would be left with no experienced mayor. Also, in this time of crisis, it seems very questionable judgement for him to endorse two newcomers for the open commissioner seats.
At this difficult time, we need balanced, caring, experienced leadership, and fortunately, we have three excellent, proven leaders who have stepped up to serve the city. Stan Mills, with 12 years experience as a Commissioner and involvement in almost all civic groups, would be the consummate hometown mayor, who would thoughtfully listen to all and work toward the best interests of all. True transparency, no conflicts of interest, no hidden agendas, diligent research, even-handedness, a full-time mayor.
With 10 years on the Audit and Beach and Boardwalk Committees, and a year as a commissioner, Jay Lagree knows the city budget and infrastructure inside and out. We need him as a commissioner again, because he’ll know best what to prioritize and where to economize.
Patrick Gossett, with 9 prior years on the Board of Commissioners and 9 as a Planning Commissioner, knows the ins and outs of the city’s goals, services, administration, staff, policies and procedures. He has a wealth of institutional knowledge to thoughtfully guide the city through the pandemic. Additionally, with a longtime career in the hotel and hospitality industry, he easily relates to the issues of many local businesses.
We need a healthier, more comprehensive approach to governing— not investor-driven profits at any cost. Please, for Rehoboth’s future, vote for Stan Mills, Jay Lagree, and Patrick Gossett.
Vote for the most qualified, Gossett and Lagree
I am sure many of you have hired employees to work in your businesses or organizations. You know how to find the right people and bring them into your business so they can make your business stronger.
We are faced with a similar task in our election Aug. 8. We are hiring two people to be our city commissioners. As in any hiring process, it is our job to find the right people - people who share our vision, have the deepest experience, and have demonstrated they are hard workers. In short, we must hire the most qualified people for the job.
Every current commissioner is in their first term as an elected or returning commissioner. Especially in this time of the economic and health impact of COVID-19, we would be well-served by commissioners who have deep institutional knowledge and are familiar with the history of the city and city government.
Patrick Gossett and Jay Lagree have shown their qualifications over and over again. Patrick has the knowledge that comes from nine years on the planning commission and nine years as a city commissioner, distinguishing himself as a thoughtful leader, committed to work hard every day to make our city the best it can be. Jay has been a member of the city audit committee for 10 years, and a city commissioner, and has a deeper knowledge of our city budget than almost anyone in the city.
They both know that being a commissioner is a full-time job. It takes dedication and commitment. And they are ready to recommit to us to work hard on every issue facing the city.
By contrast, the other candidates for commissioner have little or no experience. One has never served on a city committee or commission, and the other has been a planning commissioner for less than a year. They both have full-time jobs (in one case, more than one), and are dedicated to those businesses, as they should be. Would you hire an applicant for a full-time job knowing they had one or more other full-time jobs already?
We are hiring. In this process, as in any hiring decision, we must hire the candidates most qualified for the position.
You would never choose to hire the applicant with the least knowledge and experience to run your business. We should not hire the candidates with the least knowledge and experience to run our city.
Jay Lagree and Patrick Gossett have proven records of leadership and common sense. This is not the time to take a chance on inexperience.
Vote Gossett and Lagree to help lead our city for the next three years.
Gossett is a leader for Rehoboth Beach
All local elections are important. They are our chance to set a course for our future, to help our city meet the vision we have for it. But this Rehoboth Beach election is especially crucial.
Our comprehensive development plan, the blueprint for land use and smart growth, is being revised by the planning commission and city commission.
As we make long-range plans, we must take steps to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, and still retain our character and charm. With that in mind, the CDP must have significant public input and participation.
No one understands this better than Patrick Gossett, and no one will fight harder to assure that Rehoboth Beach continues to be the place we love. He designed and implemented the successful public participation programs for our previous CDPs and is committed to making our voices heard.
I served with Patrick on the Rehoboth Beach City Commission for several years, and know firsthand that he is a man who looks forward, not back.
No one will work harder with his colleagues, and most importantly with all of us, the citizens, to help us through these difficult times.
Having been elected by our citizens three times to the city commission, Patrick brings with him a deep knowledge that will allow him to start working for us on his first day as a re-elected commissioner.
We need city commissioners to help lead our city who are committed, smart, knowledgeable, and open-minded. That describes Patrick Gossett perfectly. I urge everyone to join me in voting for Patrick Gossett for city commission.
Gossett is the most qualified Rehoboth candidate
Douglas Popham, July 3, 2020
With the Fourth of July upon us, and uncertainty high about how many people will come to Rehoboth Beach and what they will be able to do safely, it may seem hard to concentrate on our municipal elections scheduled for August 8. But that date is not so far away, and the City is advising all of us to vote absentee ballot rather than wait in long lines due to COVID -19 restrictions.
So this is the time for all of us to carefully consider our options for Commissioner. There is no finer candidate than Patrick Gossett, and he will be an outstanding Commissioner when we re-elect him. Patrick has served the City well, 9 years on the Planning Commission and 9 years on the City Commission, so he has the experience we need on our commission now. These are the most challenging times we have faced -the health and economic well-being of our city are at stake. We need smart,calm, common-sense leadership, exactly what Patrick will provide. He will not need on-the-job-training, like some of the others running for election.
Gossett has the steady hand we need
Ron and Carol Meltzer | July 3, 2020 | Cape Gazette
This is a summer like none we have ever experienced, and hope we never will again. It feels like each day, there is another report of a increasing COVID-19 outbreak in Delaware, and even more across the country. Unfortunately, we in Rehoboth Beach are not immune to these developments.
We are fortunate in Rehoboth Beach to have a candidate for city commissioner, Patrick Gossett, ready to take on this pandemic and its effects on our community.
We need a steady hand, a commissioner with intelligence, common sense, and someone who acts on data, not on hunches or feelings. This exactly describes Patrick. He is known for doing his homework, listening to all sides of any issue, and carefully considering action on behalf of all Rehoboth citizens.
In the next year, we must re-establish confidence in the health of our community. We must reopen communication between the citizens and our city leaders.
We must get a hold of the unnecessary spending of our tax dollars, and we must reinvigorate our business community. And, as always, we must protect the very character of our city in order to prevent overdevelopment from destroying our quality of life.
Patrick is a proven leader, having given nine years on the city commission, so he has the experience we need on our commission now.
He will hit the ground running and be an advocate for all we know and love in Rehoboth Beach.
Please join us in voting for Patrick Gossett for city commission.
For more information, you can check out his website, www.gossettforrehobothbeach.org, for details on his positions on the pressing issues facing us.
Gossett is clear choice for commissioner
Carole Ellison | June 12, 2020 | Cape Gazette
We have an election coming up in August that will determine the future direction of our city. Fortunately, Patrick Gossett is running for city commissioner.
Patrick has the most experience of any candidate for commissioner running in this year’s election. He served many years on the planning commission, and nine years as a city commissioner. No other candidate has a deeper knowledge or greater understanding of the issues and operations of our city than Patrick. He has earned his reputation as a responsible official through years of hard work and dedication to our city.
He has a sharp mind and does his homework. He knows not only what needs to be done in the best interest of the citizens of Rehoboth Beach, but he also knows how to get it done. But just as important, he is beholden to no one. He represents no special interests. He never votes on an issue without hearing all sides and all viewpoints.
Patrick will fight, as he always has, to preserve the unique character of our city and keep it special. He will use his business knowledge to bring us back to financial responsibility and rebuild our tourist economy. Unlike the current mayor and commissioners, he will conduct city business in the open, not behind closed doors, and will re-energize and re-engage a wide variety of residents, property owners, and business owners.
Patrick Gossett is clearly the most qualified, most experienced and most dedicated candidate for city commissioner, and deserves your vote.
Rehoboth is very fortunate to have a deeply experienced candidate running to return to the City Commission, Patrick Gossett!
Donna Mabry, June 21, 2020. In an email.
As you know, Patrick has steadfastly served this city for over 18 years—9 years as a City Commissioner, and prior to that, 9 years on the Planning Commission. In addition to his integrity, he is known for doing his homework and thoughtfully listening to all sides on issues.
In his tenure, he has shown foresight, proactively initiating community inclusiveness to enhance the best of Rehoboth and to make for a smoother, more open, and more responsive city government.
Given the challenges and almost certain budget shortfall that the city will face due to the COVID pandemic, I think experience is the most important factor in selecting commissioners in this election. A deep understanding of the city’s budget, operations, and management will be absolutely essential in making the tough decisions ahead. Patrick certainly has this experience in abundance.
Rehoboth Beach Resident