For two months, Dagsboro Town Hall was without day-to-day leadership. But Cynthia “Cindi” Brought has returned to the public sector to become Dagsboro’s town administrator.
Brought said she enjoys helping residents work through their problems — even the tough ones. And she’s done it before, as Frankford’s town clerk (and only town-hall employee) from 1998 to 2001.
“It was always something new and exciting,” Brought said. “It’s a challenge, but I really enjoy it, just dealing with the public. I feel like I’m very approachable, and I listen to their concerns, their complaints, and I follow up on it. … It might not be the answer they want, but I will get it.”
As town administrator, Brought will advocate for the Town and enforce town laws.
“I like that challenge,” she said. “I enjoy being able to calm someone down and let them know we can work things out the right way.”
She said she wants to help the town move forward, not just throw the rulebook at violations.
“I would like to see everybody work together, not against each other,” Brought said.
“The townspeople would like to see us become more of a small-town atmosphere, [where someone could] walk around with a cup of coffee” and visit a bakery, ice creamery or other small shops, she said.
The results of a 2015 survey showed that people want a business-friendly downtown, similar to a Lewes or Berlin, Md., Brought said. But there are challenges, including the Route 26 beach corridor, which doubles as the town’s Main Street.
“There’s a lot of traffic that goes through this town. … How do you control that?” Brought said. “There’s a lot of things to be looked at. But this town, this council right now is willing to look at that. We definitely want to maintain that warm, small-town, single-family atmosphere.”
She said she sees the potential.
“It’s a great little town. We’ve got the town park, which is a beautiful little park. … We’ve got the tree-lighting and the parade,” she said.
Brought brings human resources and accounting experience to the table. While being the Town’s code-enforcement official, too, will be a learning experience for her, she said she wants to help bring Dagsboro’s homes up to snuff. She said she’d especially like to inspect all rental units regularly, to ensure everyone is living is a safe and attractive atmosphere.
If needed, Brought said, she will start sending code violation notices, “So that everybody has a neighbor they can be happy with,” she said. “The ordinances, the charter — it’s all done for a reason.”
Right now, Brought is playing some catch-up. Her position was empty for about two months, so some business went untended. But she’s gotten guidance and help from previous administrator Stacey Long, who left to accept the same position with the Town of Selbyville.
“I have to move forward with these projects,” address the backlog of old permit requests and still manage everyday business, Brought said.
As to her future goals, “I would like to see myself start to sit down and apply for grants, maybe sidewalks in the downtown area,” she added.
She already has one grant-funded project to oversee.
After October’s Hurricane Matthew caused flooding and drainage problems around Warrington Street, the Town won grant money to research and plan a solution. Culverts under the road might be weakening the road, and existing drainage ditches aren’t functioning properly.
Administered by the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF), the $22,500 grant will be matched by local legislative funds of state Sen. Gerald Hocker Sr. and state Rep. Rich Collins. After the study, the Town must decide how to fund that solution.
She started her work for the Town on Oct. 9, just as Hurricane Matthew dropped a black walnut tree on the swing set and brick pathway at Katie Helm Park. The new town administrator spent her day on the phone with the Town’s insurance company.
“It’s nice to have people that are so helpful, including our insurance company and Bob,” she said of Bob Flowers, Town maintenance-person, who cut the tree apart, piece by piece.
As town administrator, Brought is also Dagsboro’s water department supervisor and Prince George’s Chapel Cemetery administrator. She directs and supervises the town employees, including Financial Clerk Debbie Whaley and Town Clerk Megan Thorpe. (Town Hall does not oversee police department but does handle their administrative work, such as budget and payroll.)
“I have a great group of people” for support, said Brought, including Mayor Brian Baull.
She encouraged residents to come visit Town Hall.
“We’re open. Come voice compliments or complaints — we’ll take it all! We’re here for the town,” Brought said. “We would like everybody to be happy living in the town of Dagsboro.”
Originally from Harrisburg, Pa., Brought has lived in Sussex County for 30 years. Aside from the long hours at Town Hall, she said she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends and at the Ravens Roost in Ocean City, Md.