Gov. Jack Markell and members of his cabinet faced some tough questions from Dover and other nearby residents Wednesday, Feb. 16 at an open forum.


Gov. Jack Markell and members of his cabinet faced some tough questions from local residents Wednesday, Feb. 16 at an open forum.

The forum, hosted by the Dover Post and held at the Modern Maturity Center in Dover, focused on jobs, schools and the budget.

The focus for one resident in attendance, Dennis Orlando, was definitely jobs. A state worker since 2005, Orlando criticized the level of compensation for high-ranking government officials, and suggested many weren’t working as hard as lower-paid state employees.

“When am I getting a raise,” Orlando asked.

Markell admitted he couldn’t promise anything. Bolstering the economy and better positioning the private sector to provide new employment was crucial, he said.

Offering incentives to companies to relocate to Delaware is an option, but needs careful consideration, he said.

“When we offer incentives, we are offering your tax money,” Markell said. “It’s not like we have a separate pot of money.

We want to make sure we get the best return on your money. We are prepared to do that, but we have to be thoughtful about it.”

A dedication to the education system in Delaware will help attract businesses to the state, Markell said. Current standards aren’t good enough.

“We in this country have been doing the academic equivalent of having our kids practice basketball by shooting at an eight-foot basket,” he said.

Then, those children have to play against those who practiced on a 10-foot basket.

“We think a dose of honesty is in order,” he said.

Residents unable to attend the forum, who still have questions for the governor, can email them to reporter Doug Denison at doug.denison@doverpost.com.