Council members sworn in at two meetings

Terry RogersGovernment, Headlines, Milford Headline Story

F. Todd Culotta is sworn in as mayor

On Monday, May 6, Milford City Council members and a new mayor took their seats officially after being sworn in by the Honorable Noel Primos. Before council was sworn in, public comment was permitted with three people speaking up about the changes to council.

“I’m here tonight to thank first all the folks who won the elections and tell you that your elections are proof that we do listen. And we do care. And we pray that you don’t forget that. We know, too, that on the agenda for the future are still talks about a park and that’s fine, but why does the park have to be paved? I’ve seen the plans for that proposed park. There’s a lot of parking. There’s a lot of stuff for cement and things like that. To me, it’s, it’s still not needed,” Larry Passwaters said. “And there’s a lot of us who still believe that if you want pickleball courts, put them at the schools. Those are places already owned by the taxpayers. You don’t have to do anything. It’s going to cost a whole heck of a lot less money, money that can be used for things like a trash truck, which I know we need. It’s been put aside a few times and talking to a friend of mine, a new friend of mine, who says it’s been put off, it’s been put off, it’s been put off. You know what, don’t build the park, buy a truck”

Madula Kalesis is sworn in to represent Ward 1

Passwaters continued that debris on the side of the roads were things that were being missed because there was too much focus on other things.

“A few years ago, there was some talk of Milford being nothing but a whole bunch of good old boys scratching each other’s backs. But the good thing about those times was it was everybody in the community. We were that way. We were good old boys,” Passwaters continued. “There was a time then when you could call a mayor and talk to him or call a city councilman. Even if that person wasn’t in your ward and get some attention. It’s changed. Now, instead of a good old boy network that reaches all across our community, there’s a couple of fiefdoms being run by a couple of people getting their way and not paying attention to all of you. Hopefully this recent election is something that has brought that to light.”

Lucius Webb stated that he had lived in Milford his entire life and often felt he had to apologize for his town.

Lori Connor is sworn in to represent Ward 2

“Too much trash along the roads, too many vagrants, too many homeless. Just too much stuff that we have to put up with and I’m tired of having to put up with it. I have not yet come to the point that a lot of the other people who were the captains of industry in Milford who have moved away and now live in Lewes and other places, but the time will come if the people who have been elected do not change the course of action. We have people at the top who are not accountable and lack integrity as far as what is being accomplished. The buck stops at the top,” Webb said. “I also ask you all to look forward, you the new people who have won the confidence of the people here, to realize your integrity, your accountability is going to be held by everyone. Just like recently, we had the issue of those who wanted to take the land of one person and use it for the common good of all. And we are hopefully past that time. When we say we are from Milford, we want to feel good about it.”

The final public comment was from Nina Pletcher who thanked exiting council members for their multiple years of service.

Michael Stewart is sworn in to represent Ward 3

“I want to acknowledge the fact that this election was contentious and highly publicized, bringing much attention to our Milford community. Tonight, we have a chance to bury the hatchet as is historically done every Return’s Day and to begin a new chapter. It is my hope that you will not disregard or dismiss the strategic plan that is currently in place. Or the exceptional staff that has gotten us to this point,” Pletcher said. “There are 12,000 plus Milford residents who deserve your commitment to the oath you’re about to take and want you to know we are watching. The oath is your commitment to your constituents who put you here, as well as those who didn’t. I trust that when you place your hand on the Bible and raise your right hand tonight that you will embrace and absorb the words you are repeating, recognizing that at the end of each day after each committee or council meeting, or each constituent contact, we’ll be the voting voices of the wards in the city of Milford, not the zip code or your personal agenda, but preserving the legacy of this council.”

Nadia Zychal is sworn in to represent Ward 2

After public comment, City Clerk Terri Hudson read the official results of the election, stating that the Department of Elections had certified F. Todd Culotta as Mayor, Madula Kalesis in the First Ward, Lori Connor in the Second Ward, Michael Stewart in the Third Ward and Katrina Wilson in the Fourth Ward. Starting with Mayor Culotta, each person was sworn in by Primos with family members at their sides. Once each sworn-in person had taken their seats, Mayor Culotta deferred to Hudson regarding his open council seat.

“F. Todd Culotta was elected to the office of Mayor by the majority of persons who voted at the annual city election on April 27, 2024. Whereas this resolution directs city council to appoint a qualified individual to serve until the next annual organization meeting takes place on May 5, 2025,” Hudson said. “And whereas a motion to fill the vacancy shall be made as follows, a motion to appoint blank to serve the balance of the unexpired term of council member F. Todd Culotta due to said term being less than 12 months. Now therefore be it resolved by the City Council of the City of Milford on May 6, 2024, City Council declared a vacancy in the office of City Council Second Ward. City Council shall appoint a qualified person to complete the remaining term in the Second Ward, ending in May, 2025. The appointee shall take their oath of office as soon as possible to begin their term on City Council.”

After the resolution was adopted, Councilman Dan Marabello made a motion to nominate Nadia Zychal for the open seat. Zychal ran against Councilwoman Connor in the election, losing by about 30 votes. The motion was seconded and council unanimously appointed Zychal to the seat to fill the seat vacated by Mayor Culotta for the remainder of his term. Her term will expire in May 2025.

Councilwoman Wilson nominated Councilman Jason James as Vice-Mayor and he was unanimously appointed to the position.

“We’ll get it done together,” Councilman James said to Mayor Culotta after his appointment.

The next appointment was for City Solicitor. Mayor Culotta asked how long David Rutt had been the solicitor and he replied over 13 years. Councilman Marabello made a motion to reappoint Rutt to the position and it was again unanimous.

On Monday, May 13, Nadia Zychal also placed her hand on the Bible with her family by her side as she was sworn in by Judge Primos at the beginning of the regular council meeting.






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