EDITORIAL: County mainstay hangs it up

Oh, we do love bashing Sussex County Council in this space. We live to tackle the council on votes regarding development, and we simply adore questioning the rationale behind some of the decisions regarding public utilities.

However, when it comes to the mechanizations of Sussex County government, we usually have little to say. It’s been a smoothly-run machine, often flush with money, and has established itself as an entity with superior credit in the financial world, making loans for projects a somewhat easy proposition. The county’s first transfer tax, which was met with loud opposition, helped fund paramedics units, build libraries and increase police presence in the county.

And the man overseeing much of the implementation of these projects and setting the budgets for the county to run has been Sussex County Administrator Bob Stickels.

Stickels is retiring next Friday after 18 years of service as the county’s administrator. Nobody would dispute that the past 18 years has seen more change in this county than perhaps any other time in the county’s history. Population, roads, sewers, etc. — all have exploded since Stickels assumed his administrative position, and he has maintained a tight ship, working within whatever parameters were set for him by whoever happened to be sitting on the council.

He has been precise. He has been creative. He has been sometimes shrewd. And he will be missed.

Stickels is moving on to work at George, Miles and Buhr, an engineering, architectural and consulting firm that serves several loval governments. We’re guessing Stickels serves that corporation, and the towns they consult, in a spectacular manner.

The county has moved ahead and hired Dave Baker, the former finance director for Sussex County, to take Stickels’ position. Baker is obviously sound with the financial requirements of the position, and has worked for the county for 28 years — so he is undoubtedly familiar with how things work in Georgetown. We have no worries over Baker’s proficiency in his new position.

But, for now, we are bidding adieu to Bob Stickels, and wish him good luck in the private sector.

---Also, remember our policy on letters and elections. We do not run any letters regarding candidates the week before an election. Next week is your last chance.