Morgan Parrish Hennessy to lead county

January 6, 2009
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Not only did Kent County swear-in the most new members ever at the commission’s organizational meeting on Tuesday, the board also agreed to create a new leadership post.

Commissioner Carol Hennessy was unanimously chosen to become the commission’s very first Minority Vice Chairperson. Hennessy, a Democrat serving her second term on the county board, will have all the rights and responsibilities that accompany a leadership spot and will represent the views of her political party in county decisions.

“I’m very honored and privileged to be the county’s first Minority Vice Chair,” she said.

But Hennessy will not receive additional compensation for her new duties.

The minority vice chair post will always be filled by an elected commissioner from the minority party. The 19-member board has eight Democrats and 11 Republicans. Two of those Republicans were unanimously elected to the county’s two other leadership positions.

Commissioner Roger Morgan was re-elected for a fourth consecutive year as commission chairman, giving him an additional year in the top spot than past chairs have held the post.

“It’s truly an honor and privilege to be elected,” said Morgan.

Commissioner Sandra Parrish was chosen to be the board’s vice chairperson, her first year in a leadership role.

“I look forward to serving with all commissioners and the people of Kent County. Thanks for placing your trust in me,” said Parrish.

Both Morgan and Parrish were nominated by Commissioner Dean Agee. An expected tussle between Agee and Commissioner Richard Vander Molen for the county’s chair never materialized.

Seven new members took the oath of office at the meeting, the most ever at one time and the largest number since six new commissioners were sworn-in in 1997. The newcomers are Thomas Antor, Stan Ponstein, Keith Courtade, Bill Hirsch, Peter Hickey and Bob Synk. They were joined by Jim Talen, who previously served four terms on the board but decided not to seek re-election in 2000.

Morgan assigned Agee and Hennessy as chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Finance Committee. He then named Parrish to chair the Legislative Committee and Commissioner Brandon Dillon to serve as the panel’s vice chair. Agee and Parrish are Republicans, while Hennessy and Dillon are Democrats.

“I think in many ways we had a historic day at Kent County,” said Dillon.

County commissioners will hold a previously unscheduled meeting Thursday to appoint, and in some cases, reappoint, commissioners to various boards and committees.

“I think we saw this morning a gesture of bipartisanship and a new beginning,” said

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