Monday night's city council meeting was the last for James E. Hosfelt Jr.
The retiring Dover city Councilman James E. Hosfelt Jr. was honored at the March 27 council meeting just prior to his resignation from that body taking effect.
Council President Tim Slavin called Hosfelt’s departure the close of one chapter and the opening of another. While city council was losing a powerful voice for the city, he knew Hosfelt’s advocacy would continue as a member of Levy Court, Slavin said.
“My only recompense in this is that I know you’re going to defend us and represent our interests on Levy Court,” he said.
Hosfelt was the victor in a March 14 special election to fill the Second District Kent County Levy Court seat vacated in December by Brad Eaby.
Mayor Robin Christiansen took a turn to echo Slavin’s remarks.
“You have served with honor and fidelity as a police chief and as a member of council, and I reflect the comments of Council President Slavin that you will defend our interests at the Levy Court,” Christiansen said.
“I certainly will,” Hosfelt replied.
Hosfelt was momentarily overwhelmed with emotion as he addressed council members and the residents of Dover.
“Thank you,” he said to applause, his voice cracking slightly.
Council members took turns recognizing Hosfelt’s service, with Councilman Fred Neil adding a note of levity.
“Jim, using good police work, we’re changing the locks as of tomorrow,” Neil said.
Slavin noted Hosfelt’s resignation as a council member did not take effect until the conclusion of the night’s session.
“Your tenure doesn’t end until the meeting is over,” he said, “so we still have a couple of hours to put you through the ringer.”
In other actions, council established May 16 as the date for a special election to fill Hosfelt’s now-vacant seat. This will be in addition to the regular municipal election, already scheduled for Tuesday, April 18.
Election petitions for the seat will be taken through 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, and voting will be held at the Dover Elks Lodge.
Hosfelt’s departure raises an unusual situation in that there will be simultaneous campaigns for two separate city council positions in the First District. Currently there are three candidates for one seat, which will be vacated with the retirement of Councilman James L. Hutchison Sr.: William T. Garfinkel, Matthew J. Lindell and Tanner Wm. Polce.
It is possible that a candidate who loses the April 18 municipal election will be able to file an election petition to run in the May 16 special election.
Hosfelt’s departure also created a vacancy on the city’s Safety Advisory and Transportation Committee, of which he was the chairman. That committee’s chair is a member of the Police Chief Selection Board.
Slavin nominated Hutchison, also a former Dover police chief, to fill the slot.
Councilman Brian Lewis objected, adding he had no personal animosity toward Hutchison but was concerned about the timing of his appointment. It is possible, he said, the selection process could continue past the end of Hutchison’s term in May.
“That’s my concern, I would like to put it on the record,” Lewis said.
Council approved Hutchison’s nomination by a 5-1-2 vote, with Lewis voting in the negative and Hutchison and Councilman David Anderson abstaining.