The citizens of Dover Tuesday elected a slate of self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives to serve on City Council and turned out an incumbent who was criticized for his support of tax and spending increases.


The citizens of Dover Tuesday elected a slate of self-proclaimed fiscal conservatives to serve on City Council and turned out an incumbent who was criticized for his support of tax and spending increases.

Among the winners are former mayor and councilman James L. “Hutch” Hutchison Sr., the victor in the 1st District, and former councilman William F. Hare, who captured the 2nd District seat.

Incumbent Thomas Leary held onto his at-large council seat, attorney Sean Lynn took a 3rd District seat given up by outgoing Councilman Jim McGiffin and David Anderson nabbed the 4th district slot being vacated by retiring Councilman Reuben Salters.

The margins of victory were substantial in all races, a fact Hutchison attributed to voters’ frustration over the current council’s spending habits.

“The citizens of this city are not happy,” Hutchison said after the final tallies were announced at the Dover Elks Lodge. “It’s time to set new goals and objectives.”

Hutchison, who previously held elected office from 1993 to 2004, said those who supported him were upset with council’s decision last year to raise taxes and fees while simultaneously handing out employee raises and bonuses to top city officials.

He also said many voters questioned council’s choice to delegate millions of taxpayer dollars to the construction of a new library during the depths of an economic recession.

Those two issues likely cost Councilman Gene Ruane the 2nd District seat he’s held for 10 years.

Hare, Ruane’s most formidable opponent, spent the campaign hammering the incumbent on his voting record, which includes steadfast support for the library and endorsements of last year’s pay raises and tax hikes.

Fourth District victor David Anderson, who ran for council unsuccessfully in 2006, said the electoral mandate for he and the other winners is one of fiscal conservatism.

“We all had the same message. We all felt very strongly that the city, while it has a lot of strengths, is on the wrong track,” Anderson said.

Hutchison, who takes over the seat surrendered by Council President Ken Hogan, promised a line-by-line review of the city’s budget.

“We have a responsibility to do that,” he said. “It’s time for leadership.”

First District Councilwoman Beverly Williams, who was not up for election this year, was jubilant when she heard the names of the men who will be joining her on council.

“It’ll be so good to be back in the majority again,” Williams said.

Though the Council is nonpartisan, Williams explained that now at least five of the panel’s nine members will be fiscal watchdogs: Hutchison, Hare, Lynn, herself and Councilman Bill McGlumphy.

“A lot of the people that won tonight were running on a platform that we need some change—change in spending,” she said. “Me and Bill McGlumphy will have some help.”