EXCLUSIVE | 911 center’s closure sparks conflict between Seaford Mayor and Councilman

Seaford Mayor Dave Genshaw; 911 Center; Seaford Councilman James King

Seaford Mayor Dave Genshaw is firing back at City Councilman James King, saying he has a history of flip-flopping after Councilman King condemned the decision to close the 911 center, voted no at last night’s meeting, and claimed the Mayor broke his promises.

“Councilman King didn’t propose anything, any ideas to run through council, he offered no ideas, no motions, we recieved nothing from Councilman King as far as what he would like to do,” Mayor Genshaw said in response to Councilman King’s condemnation of the decision to close the 911 center.

City Council members voted 3 to 1 in favor of closing the 911 center during a meeting Tuesday evening.

In an interview with WGMD’s Rob Petree, Seaford Mayor Dave Genshaw explains…

“He was one of the key folks that when we went to the EOC (Sussex County’s Emergency Operations Center) he left there so overly impressed that he had no idea what that facility was and what it offered,” Mayor Genshaw said. “He was all in on moving this topic forward and thought it was the right decision.

Councilman King was the complete opposite at Tuesday night’s meeting and issued a scathing statement where he attacked the Mayor.

“His (Mayor Genshaw) promise to look at other things within the city that could be cut, have not been fully, accurately or fairly vetted,” King said. “It came down to scare tactics of a sort in a blanket narrative statement of ‘saving the call center means raising taxes.’”

Mayor Genshaw said Councilman King has a history of flip-flopping.

“Councilman King has a little bit of a history of flip-flopping,” Mayor Genshaw said. “We really asked him multiple times. He was good moving this forward.”

WGMD News reached out to Councilman King directly, who shot back and said “I do not feel we have looked into all possible avenues in which costs could be reduced.”

Councilman King argued that revenue streams from a 3% lodging tax and renting the city’s water tower to cellular companies to install antennas would be enough to supplement the touted cost savings of closing the 911 center.

Revenue gained from these two items could be used to offset the cost of the 911 Center, thereby preventing or eliminating what Mayor Genshaw states is the necessity of an additional tax increase,” Councilman King claimed.

When asked what specific amount the closure of the 911 center would save the City of Seaford, Mayor Genshaw said he did not know.

Mayor Genshaw tells our Rob Petree he doesn’t know how much the 911 Center’s closure will save the City of Seaford

There will however be an $8,000 cost associated with the transition of the 911 center’s services to the County, according to Mayor Genshaw. “We’re figuring about $8,000 in costs.”

The committee presented its findings to the council and recommended redirecting the calls to Georgetown. Council voted in favor of the proposal, ultimately deciding that the 911 center was too costly to keep.

Moving forward, the call center will no longer offer dispatch services or answer incoming emergency calls. The 911 center will instead provide supportive services for city leaders and local law enforcement.