Dover businessman wants city officials "to do their job"

Dover’s Ethics Commission held a rare session the morning of Nov. 14 to review a DUI complaint against Councilman Tanner Polce filed by Dover businessman La Mar Gunn.

Gunn requested the investigation during the public comments session before an Oct. 9 council meeting that resulted in the censure of Councilman Brian Lewis, who was accused of “violating the spirit and purpose” of the city Code of Conduct.

Council reprimanded Lewis for giving information to a newspaper reporter that he knew was incorrect.

In a Nov. 16 email to the Dover Post, Gunn said he took action because no one else would do so.

“I had to file a complaint for city officials to do their job,” he wrote.

Gunn took issue with the fact city officials did nothing after a May 28 New Castle County crash involving Polce injured two men in another vehicle.

Polce had been sworn in as a First District councilman 20 days earlier.

Although he initially denied culpability, in August Polce pled guilty to a single charge of driving under the influence. Other charges, including inattentive driving and related traffic offenses, were dropped.

He was fined $500 and put on 12 months probation, with probation suspended.

Gunn released information about the Nov. 14 meeting in an email to the media; the five-member Ethics Commission meets behind closed doors and does not make public details of discussions. As the one who filed the complaint, however, Gunn was free to do so.

The four commissioners who met Nov. 14 -- Commissioner Nancy J. Shevock was not in attendance -- could have dismissed the case outright, but they forwarded the complaint to City Solicitor Nicholas Rodriguez for review.

Deputy City Solicitor William Pepper said a review most likely won’t be forwarded to the ethics panel until sometime in January.

Gunn also was not pleased the council took no action following an Oct. 19, 2016, incident at Dover’s Modern Maturity Center involving Councilman Roy Sudler.

According to police reports, the men got into an argument about the upcoming November election and that Gunn, feeling Sudler was intoxicated, walked away. The two went outside; Gunn told police he felt threatened and pushed Sudler away.

Sudler called 911 to report the incident.

Law enforcement authorities decided there was insufficient evidence to file charges against either man.

Gunn said he would follow up with the ethics panel.

“The commission will not take action on an incident from a year ago, but I intend to file a complaint against Mr. Sudler also,” he wrote in an email.

In his Oct. 9 remarks, Gunn said city council members should be held to “a higher level of accountability.”

It was time, Gunn said, to send a message to Dover residents that it is not proper for members to appear in public while intoxicated.

“The complaint against Mr. Polce is a warning to the city and its leadership that they must enforce the code and protect the citizens of Dover,” Gunn wrote in his email.

Gunn did not say if he intended to request the Ethics Commission look into the Lewis matter. Lewis was reprimanded in the form of a city council resolution, not by the ethics panel.