Sudler retains Dover City Council presidency

By Mike Finney
Posted 5/9/22

DOVER — Roy Sudler Jr. put his name in the Dover history books when he was named the first Black council president/vice mayor last year.

Council President Sudler retained his esteemed …

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Sudler retains Dover City Council presidency


DOVER — Roy Sudler Jr. put his name in the Dover history books when he was named the first Black council president/vice mayor last year.

Council President Sudler retained his esteemed position following a secret ballot by city council members at council’s annual meeting Monday at City Hall.

Dover City Solicitor Nicholas Rodriguez announced that Councilman Sudler had gotten the majority of votes over challenging councilman Fred Neil following about a three-minute break after votes were cast.

The final tally was not announced.

Council President Sudler believes that he and Dover City Council members have remained productive and proactive, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With the help of most of the city council members, my leadership style has made a significant contribution to boosting the fulfillment of psychological contracts, employee morale, diversity, equity and inclusion goals,” he said.

“Consequently, decreasing toxic leadership and deviant behavior within our organization is something that we all can be proud of and reflects our leadership — I say our leadership because we are Team Dover.”

Councilman Neil, who represents the 3rd District, came up short in his second consecutive year of seeking the council presidency.

No other council members were nominated prior to Monday night’s voting.

“I am a candidate for the presidency of the Dover City Council because I believe that it is the major position in the city of Dover government,” Mr. Neil said before the vote. “This body, our body, controls a $170 million budget. Every department head other than the police department, works for us.

“We delegated to the mayor the oversight of the police department. It is the council that sets the philosophy of the type of government we seek for the citizens of our city.”

Council President Sudler was first elected to the city council in 2015 and represents the 4th District.

“For 2022-2023, under my leadership and city council’s teamwork we will continue to strengthen areas deemed as weak and bring forth additional changes that will increase employee job satisfaction, retention rate, diversity equity and inclusion programs, while simultaneously rendering impeccable customer service, which we all can be proud of,” Mr. Sudler said.

“This will be accomplished via respect, transparency, accountability and keeping it 100% with one another.”

Mayor looks forward

Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen said the city has come to a crossroads as it tries to put the effects of the COVID pandemic behind it, as well as to put new energy into attracting businesses and aggressively stopping the spread of crime that has permeated the streets in recent years.

“Dover, just like the rest of the nation, is in a restart mode, seeking to balance the old normal with the added precautions of the new normal,” the mayor said in his annual State of the City address Monday night. “We stand at a crossroad of which direction our city will go.

“While sometimes it may seem that we may take the easy road, I think we must choose to go the road less traveled and begin to aggressively rebuild our economy and our city.”

He said that begins with collaborations with Kent County, the state of Delaware, and others to increase business opportunities, tourism and jobs.

He added the city also needs to collaborate with area schools and universities to develop a skilled workforce with a solid work ethic.

“While it is true that this nation has many shortcomings and inequities, it continues to grow and mature, just as our city continues to grow,” Mayor Christiansen said. “We have the opportunity to rekindle the hopes and dreams, but moreover, the expectations of our citizens.”

The mayor also lauded the tireless work of the Dover Police Department, the city’s volunteer fire department and gave a special recognition to all city employees for their performance throughout a pandemic.

“Dover is where America started,” he said. “We are the stewards of that history and legacy.”

He said he wants to see city’s building code and enforcement appeals process put in the hands of an independent body, which will “eliminate many of the uninhabitable and dangerous buildings in community.”

While Mayor Christiansen didn’t elaborate on the details, one of his final comments did spark curiosity.

“Over the next few days, in order to maintain the safety and security of our city, as chief law enforcement officer of this community, charged with that responsibility, you will see extraordinary measures being taken to provide for the safety and well-being of all of our citizens,” he said.

“Our mission is to provide each of you with a safe, family-friendly community that you can take pride in.”