Here is a rare Republican sponsored bill that passed with a majority of Democratic support. The bill would change the succession process in New Castle County government if the County Executive dies or resigns. Currently, the County Executive is succeeded by the County Council President. That is what happened back in 2010 when Chris Coons resigned after he was elected to the U.S. Senate. County Council President Paul Clark succeeded him as County Executive.
This bill changes the law so that if the County Executive resigns or dies in office, the vacancy will be temporarily filled by the person serving as the County Chief Administrative Officer. Then, a special election will be held to fill the position for the remainder of the term of office of the County Executive, under the same process as is applicable to vacancies in County Council districts. UPDATE: There was an amendment to the bill that passed that changes it considerably. The Amendment authorizes the Governor to appoint an acting County Executive instead of the County Chief Administrative Officer automatically becoming the acting County Executive. A second amendment allows that appointee to run for County Executive if they should so choose.
One does not have to have an IQ greater than Steven Hawking to understand why this bill has been passed: Karen Hartley Nagle. No one wants to see her in the County Executive chair. No one wants to see her in her current position either. The bill passed 33-6, with all Republicans voting for it, as well as all but 6 Democrats. Those Democrats tend to be the more Progressive members of the Assembly in Sean Lynn, John Kowalko, and Sean Matthews. The other Democrats seem to have other, perhaps personal reasons. I can understand not voting for this bill as it does seem to be legislation that is focusing on one person. And I can see disagreeing with having the Chief Administration Officer be the successor since he or she would be un-elected. (This consideration is moot given the amendment above). As much as I loathe Karen Hartley Nagle, I think a compromise piece of legislation would allow her to succeed temporarily, but then call for a special election within 60 days.
HB239 – The Karen Hartley Nagle County Executive Succession Bill
SPONSORS – Ramone, Lavelle, Hudson
YES – B.Short, Baumbach, Bentz, Brady, Briggs King, Carson, Collins, D.Short, Dukes, Gray, Heffernan, Hensley, Hudson, J.Johnson, K.Williams, Keeley, Kenton, Longhurst, Miro, Mitchell, Mulrooney, Osienski, Outten, Paradee, Postles, Q.Johnson, Ramone, Schwartzkopf, Smyk, Spiegelman, Viola, Wilson, Yearick
NO – Bolden, Jaques, Kowalko, Lynn, Matthews, Potter
ABSENT – Bennett, M.Smith
NOT VOTING – None
HISTORY – Passed
STATUS – Awaiting consideration in Senate.