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Councilman Weiner questions residency of Land Use manager Dave Culver - Community News

By Antonio Prado Community News Posted May 11, 2011

Department of Land Use General Manager Dave Culver has earned the respect of many members of New Castle County Council in the way he has performed his job.

He is also a native Wilmingtonian that graduated from Thomas McKean High School and the University of Delaware.

But, apparently, Culver has had a hard time selling his Cecil County, Md. home and relocating back to the area in order to fulfill the residency requirement for New Castle County employees. That is where Culver and his family were living when former County Executive Chris Coons lured him back to the county.

Councilman Bob Weiner (R-Brandywine Hundred) brought up the issue at the Executive Committee chaired by Council President Tom Kovach (R-Brandywine Hundred) Tuesday at the City/County Building.

At the outset, Weiner said he was pleased to learn that the administration had moved to reappoint two general managers in the person of Culver and Yvonne Gordon, who heads the Office of Human Resources. Both have been serving without the expressed approved of the legislative branch since County Executive Paul Clark took office in November, Weiner said.

“We want to comply with [county code], which says general managers must be approved by County Council,” he said. “And we have two fine managers – Yvonne Gordon and Dave Culver – who have not had our blessings.”

Recently, acting Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Wilson sent an email to council expressing the administration’s intent to seek approval of these two managers from council.

Culver qualified for an exception from the residency requirement because of the downturn in the market and trouble selling the home, Weiner said.

“We simply need to take a look at whether … that 18 months would begin again or start anew,” he said. “It’s really an issue for the county attorney to opine.”

County Solicitor Wendy Danner, of the executive office, told council that the administration will seek a legal opinion on whether the clock starts for Culver anew upon approval from council.

After the meeting, Danner told the Transcript that she would work with Wilson, who has the final legal say, on what formal resolution to bring forth to council.

Culver is respected for his knowledge of land use law, state laws, federal regulations and his familiarity with the area, Danner said.

“He has every intent to be here,” she said. “He works here. His wife works here. Unfortunately, he can’t sell his house. He’s been aggressive in marketing it. He’s shown his dedication by coming and staying with his parents a few nights a week.

“County Executive Clark put a lot of thought into this decision and talked to a lot of the stakeholders – the public, the developers, council members,” Danner added on Clark’s decision to appoint Culver.

Culver, who attended County Council’s Tuesday night meeting, declined to comment for this article.

But Councilman George Smiley (D-New Castle) believes that if Culver is reappointed, the clock starts ticking again.

“Personally, I would hate to lose his expertise because of residency,” Smiley said. “I think he’s valuable to the county. He interprets the code and puts it forward. He doesn’t bow to pressure from anyone.”

Copyright 2011 The Community News. Some rights reserved

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