Newark’s new mayor talks city plans, PAC

 (Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

(Shana O'Malley/for NewsWorks)

Polly Sierer was elected Newark’s newest mayor during a special election Tuesday night.

Sierer received just 115 additional votes over candidate Amy Roe to secure the victory. A total of 3,695 votes were cast including absentee ballots.

“We have a lot of concerns and a lot of issues facing our city at the moment,” said Sierer. “This kind of turnout which is unprecedented for a special election, I think really says a lot to our community and the people who live here that feel this is important.”

Following her defeat, Roe said she’s proud of her campaign and will continue working on her current projects.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“I think that we’ve energized the neighbors in a way that’s never occurred in the past and I think that’s very exciting for the future of our town,” she said.

One of the biggest issues splitting Newark is the proposed data center and power plant set to be built on the old Chrysler plant property now owned by the University of Delaware.

While Roe and other candidates had been vocal about their opposition to the plant, Sierer hasn’t stated a definitive position.

“I’m keeping an open mind on the Chrysler Plant because I think there’s still too many facts and information to come out,” said Sierer. “The plans haven’t been submitted and really, we need to work through the due diligence that the city is going through with the permitting.”

A total of seven candidates entered the mayor race including Newark City Councilman Mark Morehead who came in fourth.

Following the results, Morehead blasted the support Sierer received from special interest groups that allegedly distributed materials on her behalf.

“I have a real problem with this result because what it says is, Newark is not only open for business, but you can buy and election for $60,000,” said Morehead. “And, that’s a really bad precedent for our democracy.”

Sierer said she had no involvement in the PAC and feels “taken advantage of.”

“I’m thoroughly disappointed and upset that this is even entered into the city of Newark election,” said Sierer. “It’s unacceptable, I will investigate it and I will find out how it all occurred and make sure that those folks, don’t let this happen again because this should not be part of the city of Newark.”

Sierer will be sworn in during the city council’s next meeting on Dec. 3. She said her first order of business will be working with council to approve the city’s 2014 budget.

As mayor, Sierer also said she’d like to bring all of the mayoral candidates together to hash out a plan to help the city move forward.

“We have a polarized community right now and we need to regroup and come together and work toward the same goals to make this a great  place to live, work and visit and the first step to do that is to get the seven of us together and figure out a game plan,” said Sierer. “I think they all could be helpful in that happening.”

Sierer will replace Vance Funk who resigned September 30th citing health issues and an unwillingness to deal with protesters opposed to development projects on South Main Street in Newark.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal