Mary Alice Reporting –

The Mayor of the City of Dover sent a letter regarding his reasoning behind the veto of two separate ordinances that were recently passed by council.

Legislation related to electric rates and an administrative investigation was rejected by Mayor Richard Homrighausen.

In a letter, he notes that “acting in the best interests of the citizens and taxpayers of the City of Dover, Emergency Ordinance 29-20 of the Dover City Council will be vetoed.

According to the mayor, his office was not invited to engage in “discussions or research leading to the initial version of this emergency legislation.”

Council passed the legislation, after 11 readings, resetting electric use rates provided by the Dover Electric Light and Power. This primarily deals with the Dover Chemical Corporation, who filed a Civil Complaint. Council indicated that the ordinance seeks recoupment of benefits that Dover Chemical received, for decades, and other customers did not.

Homrigahsuen notes that “the lawsuit raises numerous issues regarding the then proposed legislation and further alleges defamation for statements made outside the scope of immunity provided by law”. He also indicated that the City was served with a letter on September 14, 2020, for lawsuit consideration and the “rationale provided to support the legislation”.  Apparently, a Cleveland firm was retained to respond to the public records request, and “funds in the amount of $30,000 were allocated from the electric plant operations fund to pay the legal fees.”

Meanwhile, the mayor indicated that he also plans to veto Ordinance 3-21, which initiates an investigation into personnel issues of the city administration. Council members stated that there were concerns over the mayor’s lack of attentiveness and timeliness, in terms of legislation.

Homrighausen says his veto choice is based on the legislation being “devoid of rationale or reasoning consistent with the statutory process and therefore outside the authority of Council”.

He also points out that the Ordinance pertains to “personnel issues within the city administration and the Mayor of the City of Dover…” and that “the Ordinance is non-specific of the information sought to be obtained by the Council committee. It also appears that the investigation of Council is misdirected”.

By law, Council must wait 10 days before reconsideration, and Council President Shane Gunnoe says, “during that time, I plan to ask the law director or our legal outside council for a review of his objections, some of which they have already provided and respectfully disagree with his opinion Ultimately, council can bring it up for a veto override vote. It requires two-thirds of the members so five out of seven [to be enacted].”

Gunnoe adds that council had put a lot of thought and consideration into the two vetoed legislative pieces before passage.

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