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Wilmington officials, workers now required to take annual ethics training

From: Delaware Live 

Wilmington elected officials, appointed officials and city employees will be required to participate in annual ethics training thanks to an ordinance passed during Thursday’s City Council meeting.

The proposal, sponsored by the council’s lone Republican member, James Spadola, passed with 10 council members voting ‘yes.’

Councilwomen Shané Darby, D-District 2, and Yolanda McCoy, D-District 6, voted ‘present,’ and Councilwoman Loretta Walsh, D-At Large, was absent.

Under the ordinance, the city’s mayor, treasurer, council members and full-time city employees will be required to attend or watch a recording of an Ethics Commission-approved training presentation, then submit a certification verifying they attended the session.

“It’s important for ethics to be ever-present in our minds as we’re going about our day-to-day business,” Spadola said while introducing the ordinance. “This is about preventing unintentional mistakes due to not being up to speed on the ins and outs of the law.” Read more.

Housing Authority: No federal money had to be returned by Oct. 4

From: Delaware Live

It’s unclear how much the Delaware State Housing Authority has spent of the nearly $300 million it has received for rental assistance.

While some officials had feared that updated guidance from the U.S. Treasury would require the state to return that money as early as Monday, Oct. 4, a spokeswoman for the authority said Thursday, “There is no Oct. 4 deadline for returning funds.”

She declined to comment further.

The Delaware Housing Assistance Program, or DEHAP, was created to provide emergency housing assistance to renters affected by shutdowns, closures, layoffs, reduced work hours, unpaid leave or financial hardship related to COVID-19.

Delaware was awarded approximately $200 million in emergency rent relief funds out of the $46.6 billion dedicated nationally through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.

Additional funds have been allocated by the federal government since, bringing the total amount of assistance available closer to $300 million.

Based on updated guidance released Monday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, all states, counties and cities that had not dispersed at least 30% of their federal funds and allocated at least 65% of their money by Sept. 30 could be forced to return funding. Read more.

State to spend $50 million to help people qualify for better jobs

From: Town Square Live

Delaware will put $50 million of COVID-19 relief money into workforce development, but exactly how that money will be spent isn’t clear.

The plan was announced by Gov. John Carney Tuesday morning without an explanation of where the money would go. A press release from his office two hours later listed some projects that will receive money but gave little detail on specifically how it will be used.

To pay for the initiatives, Carney plans to tap the more than $1 billion in COVID-relief funds Delaware received from the American Rescue Plan Act, a federal stimulus package aimed at hastening the economic recovery from the pandemic.

“We’re focused on investments that will build on the strengths of Delaware’s world-class workforce and support Delaware families and businesses who were most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Carney said at the press conference. “These workforce development programs will help Delawareans develop the skills they need to succeed in a 21st-century economy.” Read more.

The “Success Sequence” offers a long-term solution to Delaware violence elaware violence by Charlie Copeland, Co-Director Center for Analysis of Delaware’s Economy & Government Spending

Charlie Copeland, Co-Director Center for Analysis of Delaware’s Economy & Government Spending at The Caesar Rodney  Institute 
Delaware policymakers have promoted policies for years that have led to the breakdown of civil order in several communities in our State. These policies have promoted a sequence of “failure behaviors” that have led directly to the violence and poverty we see. If we really want to build back better, it is time to promote a new sequence – the “Success Sequence.” It really works!
Introduction
According to Delaware Online data from August 19, 2021, in the past 365 days, gunfire in Delaware has caused 249 injuries and 90 deaths. The News Journal titles its piece, “A year of gun violence.”
(See graphic below – Source: Delaware News Journal)
Gun violence in Delaware has been bad for a really long time (Perhaps you might remember the “Murder Town USA” moniker applied to Wilmington by Newsweek magazine back in 2014.). In desperation, Wilmington’s City Council asked the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for a health assessment of the city and to make recommendations to solve the problem. In 2015 the CDC issued a lengthy report with numerous recommendations (largely shelved).
And six years on, the violence grows and further threatens Delaware’s reputation and quality of life. Read more.

Financial State of the States 2021

From: Truth in Accounting

Truth in Accounting has released its twelfth annual Financial State of the States report, a nationwide analysis of the most recent state government financial information. This comprehensive analysis surveys the fiscal health of the 50 states during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite receiving federal assistance from the CARES Act and other COVID-19 related grants, the majority of states’ finances worsened. Total debt among the 50 states amounted to $1.5 trillion at the end of the fiscal year 2021. Read more: Delaware ranking pgs. 114-115.

Auditor to host Sept. 20 town hall on rescue funds spending | Cape Gazet

From: The Cape Gazette

State Auditor Kathy McGuiness will hold a town hall meeting from 6 to 8 p.m., Monday, Sept. 20, at Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach.

The event is part of a series of town halls focusing on Project: Gray Fox, her online resource for municipalities, counties, school districts and state agencies to securely track their American Rescue Plan Act spending.

“Delawareans have been asking for greater accessibility, transparency and good governance in the First State,” McGuiness said. “These town halls will allow the public to better understand how their communities will be spending their ARPA funds.”

Delaware received approximately $1.25 billion total in ARPA money. The U.S. Treasury has issued guidance for how government entities can spend the funds, but each one – whether a municipality, school district, county or state agency – decides which categories to choose from.

“These town halls will provide the necessary information so that all Delawareans can be informed citizen fiscal watchdogs,” McGuiness said. As state auditor, she is dedicated to identifying fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Project: Gray Fox proactively seeks to prevent those issues. Read more