Expanding The Sussex County Council

Posted: 01/15/2008 by that's Elbert in election, government, opinions, Politics, Rants/Opinions, Sussex County

It was reported last week that three county council members now support the expansion of the council by two seats. Both Republican members, Vance Phillips and George Cole, support the measure, and they have added Lynn Rogers to their ranks of supporters of HB42. All three of these members currently represent some piece of the coastal Sussex pie (district map). I’m suspicious of Rogers’ support for the bill. It seems his support is an election year decision, considering he has Judson Bennett running against him again this year. Bennett nearly removed Rogers from the council four years ago, with Rogers besting him by three votes. It was the complaint that coastal Sussex was not being represented properly that nearly cost Rogers his seat, and it would seem that he wants to show his support of their concerns. Honestly I don’t think it will work.

I like the idea of adding the two seats, but it’s how they want to create the seats that has my concern. Both of these seats will be at-large, opening the possibility of coastal Sussex having a disproportionate number of representatives on the council. A better choice would lie in either drawing out 7 districts or drawing 6 districts with one at-large. In either of my scenarios, coastal Sussex would still gain representation but the likelihood of them overrunning western Sussex county would be diminished. With two at-large seats, the worst-case senario could place both seats on the coast, possibly giving western Sussex only two votes of the seven. That’s extreme.

Yes, coastal Sussex should have proper representation, but this bill could open the door to simply shift what they perceive is underrepresentation from one side of the county to another.

Delmarva Now reports on this story here. The Sussex County Council’s web site is here.

  1. Alan Coffey says:

    As usual, the devil is in the details. How much is too much “at large”? I think your re-drawing plans that leave one “at large” sounds about right.