J.P. Court to leave Frankford, police officer resigns

Next year, Justice of the Peace Court 1—Criminal, Truancy will move out of its Frankford location. Town Councilman Marty Presley said the Town had been told the Court would not be renewing its lease, which ends in January 2017.

“Council needs to make a decision about what they’re going to do,” he said, as to whether or not the Town would look to rent the building out again or to use it as a combined town hall/police department.

The Town receives approximately $40,000 annually renting the property, and Presley said about $20,000 of that will be placed in the upcoming year’s budget.

When asked why the J.P. Court would not be renewing their lease, council members said they were told the court was consolidating operations elsewhere.

Also during the April council meeting, it was announced that the Town’s second police officer, James Joles, had resigned from the police department and moved on to the Dagsboro Police Department.

Councilman Skip Ash said Joles went to Dagsboro because they are on the State’s pension plan. He added that the Town is looking into sending Taylor Bare to the fall’s police academy, but will also have to look into a contractual stipulation obligating new hires that the Town sends to the police academy to work for Frankford for at least three years.

The council said they would not make a hiring decision until the Town’s 2017-fiscal-year budget is approved this summer.

Councilman Greg Welch also gave an update on the charter committee’s progress.

“The committee’s feeling is that there’s no urgent need to charge the charter at this time. All the immediate needs can be addressed by ordinance. Basically, just about all of them can be fulfilled by ordinance,” he said.

Welch added that the committee would continue to meet to review the charter.

Presley said he disagreed and believed a charter change would be necessary, noting the recent lawsuit by former town administrator Terry Truitt over unused leave and a now-former councilman having chosen during his term to no longer attend council meetings.

“There’s a long list of things that are problems with the charter… How many meetings did we attend when the attorney sat at the table and said, because of ambiguous language in the charter, he made everybody mad, ‘because that’s what the charter said.’ We need to take those ambiguities out of the charter.”

In other Town news:

• Presley said the Town’s audit through the State has moved into Phase II, which could take 30 to 60 days.

“They don’t give us much in the way of updates,” he said.

Presley added that he had asked that, once the audit is complete, a representative come and give a presentation to the Town regarding their findings.

• Following an executive session, the council voted unanimously to hire Cheryl Lynch as the Town’s fulltime town clerk.