“NEWS FROM GOVERNOR MARKELL – ECONOMIC OMBUDSPERSON ANNOUNCED”

This just out from Governor Markell’s office.  (Emphasis in red added.)  Exactly what it will mean in practice is uncertain, but the rhetoric is straight “Republican:” businesses/corporations over humans/health/environment.  This sort of language is almost always bad news.  One token mention of “citizens” is in the last line.  It is true, of course, that Delaware’s economy is stagnant and this is not good.  Whether Markell’s various initiatives can stimulate the economy without destroying the remaining vestiges of human citizen control over Delaware remains to be seen.

In another Aug. 18, 2009 press release, Markell announced the nomination of corporate lawyer J. Travis Laster To Serve On The Court of Chancery.

On a more positive note:

DOVER – Gov. Jack Markell announced today that the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will receive $1.23 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to assess and clean up releases of petroleum from underground storage tanks through a cooperative agreement grant with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Air quality for today (Wed.) is high YELLOW (“moderate”) for both ozone and particulates.  This doesn’t generate official alerts, but combined with high temperatures and humidity is not favorable to comfort and good health.  Some improvement is forecast for Friday and Saturday.

Alan Muller

Markell Names “Economic Ombudsperson” to Help Create and Retain Jobs
Cleon L. Cauley, Sr. Will Lead Rapid Response Teams to Help State Grab Economic Opportunities

Wilmington, DE – “Delaware can and must move faster than other states to seize opportunities and help create new jobs”, Governor Jack Markell said today. To accomplish that goal, Markell joined county and local leaders to announce a new “Economic Ombudsman” who will help coordinate activities across agencies, ensuring a rapid response to businesses looking to create jobs for Delawareans.

“Delaware enjoys a strategic advantage over other states in this dynamic and challenging economic environment.  With our close-knit business, government, and educational communities and our potential to respond quickly to new opportunities, we are truly a state of neighbors,” Markell said. “We can, and must, use that advantage to move more quickly, act more decisively and work more collaboratively to create and retain critical jobs. The Economic Ombudsman will help us drive job growth by ensuring we are all headed in the same direction – forward.”

Economic development opportunities sometimes require extraordinary efforts to clear administrative, intergovernmental, procedural, financial, staffing, and infrastructure hurdles that can impede the successful attraction, retention and growth of businesses. To clear those hurdles, the Ombudsperson will serve as a liaison to businesses, communities, local economic development organizations, regulatory agencies, local governments and State agencies.  When an opportunity for new jobs arises, they will facilitate an efficient and expedient conduct of the permitting process by coordinating with State agencies and local governments in a manner that deploys resources effectively and hastens those processes, within the parameters of existing State laws and local ordinances and controlling local land-use authority.  The State has already received the concurrence of all three Delaware Counties and the City of Wilmington to enter into this agreement.
Markell announced that Cleon L. Cauley, Sr. will become the state’s first Economic Ombudsman.  Cleon Cauley Sr. is Deputy Legal Counsel to Delaware Governor Jack Markell, where his responsibilities include advising the Governor on legal and policy issues concerning the Governor, the Office of the Governor and the various Executive Branches of the Governor’s Office.  Before joining the Governor’s office, Mr. Cauley worked as an associate in WolfBlock LLP’s Real Estate, Environmental and Land Use Practice Groups, where he concentrated his practice on zoning and land use matters including land use-related litigation.

Before joining WolfBlock, Mr. Cauley served as Assistant County Attorney and Land Use Attorney for the New Castle County Government here in the State of Delaware. In that role, he was responsible for regulating all land use matters. Mr. Cauley also served as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of Delaware Department of Justice, for which he represented the State in the prosecution of criminal cases in the Superior Court, Family Court, Court of Common Pleas and the Justice of the Peace Courts.

Mr. Cauley is a graduate of Howard University School of Law (J.D.) and of Immaculata University (B.A. in Psychology and Business). He is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania.  Cauley will add the position’s responsibilities to his current ones, so this initiative will not cost taxpayers additional funds.

“Cleon Cauley is the perfect fit for this role and we are so thankful that he will put his wealth of experience to work,” said Markell.  “The very fact that we already have someone on-board who can successfully carry out the additional responsibilities of this position will enable us to ensure governments work together to turn economic possibility into reality.”

Alan Levin, the State’s Director of Economic Development, added, “”Cleon brings a great deal of legal and government experience. It will be great to have him in this position to assist us in our work with municipalities and counties throughout Delaware.”

Local officials also commented. “The City of Wilmington appreciates its long relationship with the State of Delaware in pursuing economic development opportunities,” said Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker.  “We have both benefitted greatly as a result of our joint efforts and enthusiastically support this new initiative to further coordinate and strengthen our cooperative efforts to retain and attract jobs to improve the quality of life for our citizens.”

Governor Markell has vowed to make State Government more nimble and responsive to the concerns of the business community. The creation of the Economic Ombudsman post signifies a major step toward that goal”, said Kent County Levy Court President P. Brooks Banta.

“Often, government is justly accused of standing in the way of progress, of stifling America’s entrepreneurial spirit with burdensome regulations and layer after layer of bureaucracy,” said County Council President Vance C. Phillips. “This agreement doesn’t grow government or add more red tape. What it does is recognize that government’s place is not to be in the way of opportunity, but to be side by side with new businesses that can bring jobs to our residents. Common sense tells us that state and county governments should work together to help our economy whenever possible.”
As part of the effort, Markell is requiring each state agency identify people to serve on Rapid Response teams, whose jobs will include:
·                     Responding, at the direction of the Ombudsperson, to significant economic development initiatives; and
·                     Providing the requisite expertise, authority, and staff resources appropriate to facilitate rapid resolution of issues related to the review and consideration of significant economic development projects; and
·                     Identifying opportunities to improve and expedite the review and permitting processes.
“A smaller, more efficient and effective government is an important part of the equation to getting our economy moving and getting Delaware to work,” Markell said. “These teams and this effort make government more responsible to citizens and more responsive to opportunities to create new jobs.”

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