Gov. Carney is expected to highlight some of the accomplishments of his administration’s first year and lay out some agenda items for 2018.
It was a rocky first year for Carney. For the first time in decades, lawmakers were unable to reach a deal on the state budget by the June 30 deadline. That forced the General Assembly into overtime, finally approving a budget after 1 a.m. on July 3. It was the first time since 1977 the deadline passed without a deal.
Carney started out the year talking about “shared sacrifice,” that would be necessary to bridge a funding gap. After Carney signed the budget in July, he called it a “missed opportunity.” He said the failed effort to increase the personal income tax on wealthier Delawareans would have gone a long way to fund future budgets. “We’re going to be in the same situation next May, although it won’t be as bad as this year unless the economy really goes south,” Carney said in July.
Just weeks after his inauguration, inmates took over a portion of the state’s biggest prison. That started a nearly 20 hour standoff that ended with one correctional officer dead and several others injured.
The incident drew lots of attention throughout the year, with accusations from some that the riot happened in part because the state’s prisons were mismanaged, understaffed and correction officers were underpaid. Carney launched an independent investigation that examined the underlying causes. That investigation discovered a host of problems including a dysfunctional, adversarial culture between prison leaders and rank-and-file, and between staff and inmates.
In June, Carney appointed Claire DeMatteis as his special assistant at the Delaware Dept. of Correction. The former senior counsel to then-Senator Joe Biden is charged with reforming management practices and training at the prisons. She’ll also work to do a “cultural turnaround” behind bars.