County commissioners show confidence in Delabbio

December 22, 2012
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He runs a tight ship, is very professional, reliable and accessible, is well respected in the community, is a joy to work with and is a great administrator well suited for the job.

Those are a handful of the comments Kent County commissioners made in their annual evaluation of Kent County Administrator and Controller Daryl Delabbio’s job performance in 2012. Commissioners gave Delabbio an average score of 3.84 on a scale of 4.00 across four categories and 21 factors within those categories. His 2012 score was higher than the 3.77 he received last year.

“Government is often considered to be bureaucratic and inflexible. Yet somehow within this well-defined structure, Daryl has managed to create a flexible and innovative environment for his leadership team,” said Commission Chairwoman Sandi Frost Parrish. “This extends to creating a teamwork environment where each member is a valued problem solver. Issues are carefully evaluated and the best course of action is determined with everyone’s input. This approach leads to a supportive atmosphere for innovation.”

Delabbio started with the county in September 1995 as the assistant county administrator and was named acting administrator three years later when Melinda Carlton left the top executive post. The board named him to the position permanently in March 1999.

“I am gratified by the Board of Commissioners’ confidence in me as expressed in the evaluation. I am fortunate to have a great team of employees to work with,” said Delabbio. “The results are a reflection of the outstanding work done by the board and the staff. Kent County is a great organization and one that I am blessed to be a part of.”

Commissioners also honored Parrish for her three years of chairing the commission.

“I’m glad I preceded you instead of having to follow you, because the bar has been raised,” said Commissioner Roger Morgan. During Parrish’s leadership, commissioners approved 365 resolutions and began the reorganization and possible consolidation of the park system in Kent County.

“It’s been a wonderful ride. I really appreciate all of your vision and cooperation,” said Parrish, who decided not to seek a fourth year as chair, but won re-election in her district. “It’s been a wonderful three years.”

Board members also said goodbye to three colleagues: Jack Boelema, Dick Bulkowski and Bill Hirsch. Boelema and Bulkowski didn’t seek another term, while Hirsch was defeated in the August primary. Bulkowski served five terms, Hirsch two and Boelema 13.

Boelema said he lost his first county race by 300 votes in 1981 and his second by 60 votes two years later. The third time was a charm: He won by 100 votes in 1984 and won again in 1986. He lost in 1988 but won again in 1990 and has remained on the board since then.

Over his time on the commission, Boelema said the vast majority of his colleagues served because they wanted to make a contribution to the county and its residents. He said he could count all the board members who were more interested in their own political gain on one hand. “And I’d still have three fingers left.”

Commissioners will elect new leadership Jan. 3.

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