Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Rehoboth Beach unanimously approves city manager contract

A crowd faces the Board of Commissioners and the mayor, who sit in a line under the words "City of Rehoboth Beach" on the wall.
Abigail Lee
The meeting comes after Delaware’s Department of Justice found the city violated the Freedom of Information Act during the process of hiring Taylour Tedder.

The Rehoboth Beach Board of Commissioners held a special meeting Monday concerning the controversial hiring of a new city manager two months ago.

The meeting drew a largely disgruntled crowd of about 50 people to Rehoboth Beach City Hall. Mayor Stan Mills and the Board unanimously approved city manager Taylour Tedder’s contract after about 20 comments from residents, the majority of with were against the current course of action.

Most, like Rehoboth resident Jeffrey Goode, were of like mind.

“Oh, they're just sticking their thumbs in our eyes,” Goode said. “They see 90% or more people against it, and then they just double down. And it was horrible. That's what I think.”

The meeting comes after Delaware’s Department of Justice found the city violated the Freedom of Information Act during the process of hiring Taylour Tedder.

The DOJ found that the City failed to give proper notice for planned discussions of candidate qualifications, failed to discuss the contract and compensation package in open public session, and public comment was not scheduled for public meetings following executive sessions.

The DOJ recommended Rehoboth hold a FOIA-compliant meeting and ratify its decision to give Tedder a $250,000 salary and an interest-free, $750,000 loan for housing that will be forgiven if he remains in the position for seven years.

Goode, an attendee, conceded the best-case scenario would have been renegotiating the contract. Lawyer and homeowner Rick Perry concurs; reversing the decision was unlikely.

“I will agree that, perhaps, the process was flawed,” Perry said. “But at the end of the day, the city entered into a binding contract.”

Before admonishing the commissioners’ actions, several residents apologized to Tedder for having to witness and be involved in this conversation.

“ I think that’s what [the commenters were] getting at, that they were upset at how the action was taken, but they weren’t trying to direct that at me,” Tedder said after the forum ended.

In the public comment portion of the meeting, three commenters called for commissioners’ resignations, as well as Mayor Mills’.

“Today’s meeting was very contentious,” Mills said. “Obviously, a majority in the audience, members of our public, our constituency were very angry with the majority of the commissioners, and I can understand their passion and their anger… Everybody, in terms of commissioners, thought they did the right thing at the right time.”

In spite of the contract Perry referenced, resident Tom Gaynor and his lawyer suggest they may fight on, threatening litigation during the forum if the mayor and Board approved the contract.

With degrees in journalism and women’s and gender studies, Abigail Lee aims for her work to be informed and inspired by both.

She is especially interested in rural journalism and social justice stories, which came from her time with NPR-affiliate KBIA at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo.

She speaks English and Russian fluently, some French, and very little Spanish (for now!)
Related Content