Sussex County Board Censures Commissioner for Misconduct, Threats, Unethical Relationship

In a recent meeting of the Sussex County Board of Commissioners, a motion to censure Commissioner William Hayden was passed following allegations of misconduct and threats against a resident. The resolution to censure Hayden cited several instances of alleged wrongdoing, including failure to report threats of violence, engaging in a relationship with a subordinate, and spreading false information. Commissioner Jill Space moved to censure Hayden, with Deputy Director Chris Carney seconding the motion. Despite Hayden’s absence, the motion passed, as members emphasized the necessity of maintaining a higher standard for elected officials.

The meeting, which addressed a range of county affairs, saw the board adopt a resolution authorizing a 3.5% increase in County budget appropriations. This does not necessarily equate to a tax increase, as clarified during the session. Additionally, no public comments were made regarding the resolution, which was ultimately authorized for advertising and posting.

County Administrator Ron Tappan shed light on plans to honor a long-standing employee who had served the county for 50 years without formal recognition. The aim was to propose a proclamation for the employee in the subsequent meeting. Tappan also reported on various county initiatives, including building improvements, the successful budget process, and the county’s recognition for best practices. Furthermore, he briefed the board on his recent appointments to the executive committee and two committees at a statewide joint insurance fund meeting, as well as the ongoing negotiations with the corrections department.

Commissioner Jack DeGroot updated the board on several initiatives, including the Farmland Preservation Revitalization Tour, open space committee meetings, and the Division of Health and Human Services’ Covid-19 vaccination efforts. His recent trip to Trenton for the New Jersey Association of Counties reorganization meeting was also recounted. DeGroot inquired about the process for the sale of the jail property, learning that an appraisal would be conducted before a public auction.

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Deputy Director Chris Carney delivered reports from the Department of Public Works, Planning, and Engineering. His updates covered road construction projects, farmland preservation, and tours of DPW facilities throughout the county. Carney proposed a new system to acknowledge the service of long-serving county employees, which included the potential creation of a recognition board.

The board’s agenda also included the approval of minutes and several resolutions, such as appointing members to the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees and the Mental Health Board, reappointments to the Youth Services Commission, and the approval of financial payments of bills. Additionally, three personnel agendas were approved without discussion.

Other matters discussed were the sale of the Lime Crest facility, free radon testing kits for residents, an open computer lab for seniors at Sussex County Community College, and economic development partnerships. The board also highlighted public health efforts, including screenings and the promotion of sanitary practices to mitigate the spread of influenza, as well as initiatives to combat homelessness among veterans.

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The meeting concluded with a reminder for the public to check the county’s website for meeting schedules and a motion to adjourn, which was carried.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

County Administrator:
Ron Tappan
County Council Officials:
Jill Space, Chris Carney, Jack DeGroot, William Hayden

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