Greg Bassett: Issues we’re watching early in 2015

As we begin wading hand in hand into 2015, here are some of the news items we’re tracking at Salisbury Independent:

–County department heads. Wicomico County’s Charter says a newly elected county executive has six months to put select his department leaders. Those leaders are confirmed by the County Council.

Gary Mackes had been the sole departure, electing to retire when Bob Culver arrived. After a time of quiet, early this week Public Works Director Lee Beauchamp and Finance Director Andrew Mackel were shown the door.

The public reaction to Beauchamp’s removal has been fairly negative — Beauchamp was seen as one of the county’s rising young leaders. What’s important now is what’s next: Will Culver name ideological peers or figures with whom he has personal ties to succeed these directors?

The new executive has three very big, very difficult, very important positions to fill.

–Adult business stores. The City Council this week began a discussion about how to crack down on adult book stores and shops in Salisbury. There are three high-profile businesses now, all three located along Salisbury Boulevard.

This topic comes up occasionally, yet little ever happens to get things changed or stores moved or closed. The tone this week was stronger than the past — this issue might be headed somewhere.

–Rentals overcrowding. It’s been a decade since the 4-to-2 laws were implemented. Those rules governing how many tenants could live together in single-family homes were seen as a quick success and approved in a crisis mode.

Violations of the laws are — suddenly — piling up, and the city’s inspectors are asking for some administrative help. Will this open up another city-wide rentals debate?

–The Phosphorus Management Tool. Headed for implementation under a Democratic governor, then thought to be dead under an incoming Republican one, now there’s a sense that some parts of the proposed administrative rules are headed for approval.

The theory is that the incoming governor is looking for some trading points with Democrats, and even his Republican base thinks that containing phosphorus is a worthy effort. Too many moving parts to predict an outcome; watching the whirlwind will be a lesson in politics.

What issues do you care about? What do you want tracked? What do you want to know more about? Email me at gbassett@newszap.com and let me know.

 

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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