John Watson is a long time Wilmington radio talk show host. He witnessed the swearing in of the 55th mayor, Dennis Williams and offers his thoughts on what to expect.
Nothing matches the feeling you get on that first day in school. As you begin to satisfy your thirst for knowledge about what life is really all about.
Finally the doors are open to you and your fellow students, as you begin to understand the meaning of all of those whispered adult conversation’s, when you were told to go outside and play. (It happened to me a lot.) Well, now you can go to school and learn what the whispering was all about.
For Wilmington’s 55th Mayor, Dennis P. Williams, these feelings were evident as he re-lived his early years, and his first days in North East Elementary School, now known as East Side Charter School.
After his inauguration Tuesday morning, he remembered those who said his neighborhood background marked him as a failure, even before his search for knowledge began. A prediction he proved to be wrong. Very wrong.
During his remarks, Mayor Williams often spoke directly to the students, counseling them to always have some one they could depend on to help them reach the right decision, when faced with troubling concerns. And he got a laugh when he said, if that doesn’t work call the Mayor, him, who has an open door policy.
Mayor Williams said the main reason for his success in life, going from Wilmington Police Detective, to State Representative, and now the 55th Mayor of our fair city on his 60th birthday is because of family and community guidance, and being in a very religious environment. He said his administration will have faith in God. No man can make it without faith in God.
After these remarks, the audience exploded with cheers and applause, singing Happy Birthday in Mo-town style. It seems to me, with his faith in God, and community support demonstrated on his inauguration day, Mayor Dennis P. Williams just might follow his predecessor, Mayor James Baker, and serve three terms as Mayor going on to the Governors office if he decides to run.
But that won’t be easy, if all of his proposed pay raises to three top aides and four others not named, are approved by the City’s Administration Board, and City Council.
Mayor Williams is being criticized for that. It should remind him of his promises to be a more frugal city budget manager. During the Mayoral campaign, he preached fiscal responsibility, saying “people will do more for less” in a recent News Journal interview. Going on to say, “my administration, when the pain starts to come, we will suffer. We will take a pay cut.”
During his nighttime address, Mayor Williams was fired up in his speech during the 106th City Council Inauguration and Organizational Meeting in the Baby Grand Theater on Market Street in Wilmington.
He took the opportunity to promise an attack on Wilmington’s looming budget deficit, improve the Parks and Recreation Department and the City Police Department’s fight on violent crime. He told the standing room only crowd, “You give us about six or seven months, you’re going to see a dent in this. You give us two years; you won’t even think it’s the same city”.
As for the city’s budget problems, keep in mind that Mayor Williams served as the Deputy Chairman of the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee, helping Governor Markell in solving the state’s $800 million budget deficit. So he should have no trouble in dealing with Wilmington’s budget problems.
Finally, if Mayor Williams transition into office seems to be causing him problems, outgoing Mayor James Baker, who never had a transition team during his three terms, is quoted as saying, “Transitioning is a very hard job, but the quicker you do it, the better off you are.”
So let’s give our new Mayor Dennis P. Williams the benefit of the doubt, and allow him the time he needs to transition his administration out of the mine field one encounters as Mayor.