Dover staffer explains complaint against Hare

City council will discuss ethics commission case

By Benjamin Rothstein
Posted 5/22/24

DOVER —– Former Dover City Council president Bill Hare’s scrutiny of a city employee’s work and time out of the office led to discussion of a censure.

Lauren Eisenbraun, …

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Dover staffer explains complaint against Hare

City council will discuss ethics commission case


DOVER —– Former Dover City Council president Bill Hare’s scrutiny of a city employee’s work and time out of the office led to discussion of a censure.

Lauren Eisenbraun, the city employee involved, told the Daily State News that she did not know the result of the ethics commission hearing until reading about it Saturday.

Ms. Eisenbraun’s husband, Cameron, filed the complaint.

Ms. Eisenbraun is a code enforcement officer with the city and began her position in July. Before that, she worked for the Delaware Department of Corrections in Smyrna.

According to Ms. Eisenbraun, concerns began at the end of August 2023, when Mr. Hare asked her supervisor if he could do a ride-along with Ms. Eisenbraun to a home in which she had issued a citation. She was unable to go with him at the time he requested, so her supervisor went instead.

Ms. Eisenbraun said that later that day, she stopped at home during her lunch break to grab her wallet, a short drive from Dover City Hall. While she stood outside, she claims Mr. Hare approached in his vehicle. Though she did not realize who the man was at first, she said it clicked for her quickly after he began by telling her that she missed their meeting.

She claims he asked what she was doing at the home, to which she replied she was just riding around the area, not wanting to reveal that it was her own home. According to Ms. Eisenbraun, the area in which she lives has a vacancy. There is no code enforcement officer responsible for the area, and Mr. Hare warned her that it was a bad area.

Days later, Ms. Eisenbraun said she was sitting in her supervisor’s office when the supervisor received a phone call. She said it was from Mr. Hare, and she heard over the phone him ask where she was and then revealed to the supervisor that he knew Ms. Eisenbraun lied to him, that the home she had been at was her own. She said he also revealed that she had been at Aldi on Division Street during her lunch break on a previous day — although she did not know how he knew that.

The couple noted that Mr. Hare lives down the street from them, and according to Dover City Council president David Anderson, Mr. Hare discovered that he lived close to the couple by accident.

Days after, Mr. Eisenbraun said he was home while his wife was at work. Suddenly, according to Mr. Eisenbraun, a man in a veteran’s cap pulled into their driveway and knocked on the door. He said he answered it, and the man immediately asked, “Where’s Lauren?”

Mr. Eisenbraun said the man introduced himself to be Mr. Hare, and explained he appeared at the home to ask about a case Ms. Eisenbraun had been working on, and he was looking for her. Mr. Eisenbraun said he asked why not call Ms. Eisenbraun, and Mr. Hare replied that she had not been at the office. Mr. Eisenbraun noted to Mr. Hare that code enforcement is a job that often requires work in the field, be it for complaints or inspections.

“To come to my house to look for an employee for the city of Dover’s code enforcement to come to her house personally, is not appropriate at all,” said Mr. Eisenbraun.

Later that same day, the couple said Mr. Eisenbraun was on the phone with Ms. Eisenbraun talking about what happened when Mr. Hare walked in the office. Ms. Eisenbraun said she asked Mr. Hare why he was at the house, to which he replied that he wanted to speak to her about a citation paid in a case Ms. Eisenbraun claims was closed out two weeks prior.

When Mr. Eisenbraun heard about the office visit, he said he immediately went to Dover City Hall to file the complaint that would eventually go before the ethics commission.

Two weeks later, Mr. Eisenbraun claimed Mr. Hare appeared at the home again, inching forward in front of the house in his vehicle attempting to get a view of the inside of the couple’s cars.

The couple said they found out via a pair of human relations meetings that Mr. Hare was watching Ms. Eisenbraun, but he was doing it because he said he was looking into a tip that alleged Ms. Eisenbraun was stealing time during her lunch break.

According to Dover human relations director H. Naomi Poole, all employees are allotted 30 minutes to an hour of lunch time depending on business needs. She said the time at which these lunches are taken can also vary by department. If an employee is believed to be stealing time, Ms. Poole said that her department investigates the claim.

The couple said, as of Monday evening, the city had yet to provide them documentation regarding this tip. According to Councilman Anderson, there is no investigation into Ms. Eisenbraun’s use of time. It was all related to a code case on which Ms. Eisenbraun had been working.

Despite the unanimous vote by the Dover Ethics Commission, Mr. Eisenbraun said the pair were not notified of the result of the hearing and had not heard anything from the city until they reached out on May 16.

The couple said they contacted both a local lawyer, who was not interested in pursuing the case, as well as Dover Police, who asked Mr. Hare to stay away from Ms. Eisenbraun. Since the last incident, they say he has.

Mr. Eisenbraun said a meeting was set up Monday between him and Mr. Anderson. According to Mr. Eisenbraun, Mr. Anderson conceded that Mr. Hare had crossed the line, but was unwilling to do anything against his predecessor. Mr. Eisenbraun also claimed that Mr. Anderson implied there were more important things in the city to worry about.

According to Mr. Anderson, the meeting’s purpose was to inform Mr. Eisenbraun that the city was planning to vote on the censure, which Mr. Hare had previously chosen not to do.

“On advice of counsel, the past council president didn’t bring it up because the determination reached in the resolution does not fall in the purview of censureship by the ethics commission,” wrote Mr. Anderson to Daily State News.

“Based upon that advice, it was therefore optional, he chose not to place it on the agenda.”

Mr. Anderson said he told the couple there was no basis for an open investigation beyond the ethics committee, but that the council vote would take place at the June 10 meeting.

Mr. Anderson said the June 10 discussion will be the council’s first and last on the subject. The Eisenbrauns said they are not sure if they will attend.

Dover city spokeswoman Kay Sass said Wednesday that Mr. Hare was unavailable for comment.

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