DOVER, DE – Dover’s former city manager filed an ethics complaint against a council member Monday after she insinuated that he sabotaged contract negotiations with the city’s police union.
Anthony DePrima spoke during the public comment section before the council’s regular meeting and said Councilwoman Beverly Williams “slandered and defamed” him in a News Journal story last week about a state labor arbiter’s recent decision to side with the Fraternal Order of Police in the matter of a 2 percent raise.
In the story, Williams said she believed DePrima told the FOP early last year that preliminary budget drafts included money for raises. With this information, Williams indicated, the FOP knew to push for arbitration and eventually win the raises over the objection of the council.
DePrima, who retired from the city last summer in the midst of contentious budget talks, said the raises were not in the budget, “But the facts get in the way of a really good excuse to slander and defame me.”
He also said he never violated confidentiality rules in the course of negotiations with the FOP.
“If this council wants to investigate whether a breach of confidentiality was broken by me or anyone else, go ahead and do it,” DePrima said. “I’ll be the first in line for the lie detector.”
The city clerk’s office confirmed DePrima filed his complaint with the city’s Ethics Commission on Monday afternoon. The commission meets only when needed and will have to schedule a meeting to discuss DePrima’s complaint.
Williams was puzzled by DePrima’s strong reaction to her comments and said he misinterpreted what was stated in the news article.
“It seems strange to me that he would react so vehemently,” she said. “He’s obviously protesting something he doesn’t understand.”
Williams added she’s not worried about an Ethics Commission investigation.
DePrima said he’s been painted by Williams and other council members as the scapegoat for the city’s ongoing budget problems.
“I get blamed for every problem Dover seems to have,” he said. “They’re always going to blame things on the last guy, but this was purposefully slanderous and defamatory.”
After leaving the city manager’s post, DePrima worked briefly at Delaware State University before becoming the first executive director of the state’s Sustainable Energy Utility.
Williams’ council seat is up for election in April, but she has yet to announce if she’ll seek another term. DePrima’s statements won’t affect her decision to run, she said.
“I’m still very much considering it,” she said.
From Delaware Online.