Dewey Beach employees call for ouster of town manager after misconduct allegations

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Dewey Beach employees call for ouster of town manager after misconduct allegations

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Dewey Beach employees have sent a letter to elected officials demanding the removal of the town manager following allegations of sexual harassment and general unprofessionalism.

The letter, dated June 14, included signatures of several members of the Dewey Police Department, including Police Chief Sam Mackert, as well as town building inspector William Mears. It calls for the immediate ousting of Town Manager Marc Appelbaum by Dewey Beach Mayor Dale Cooke and other members of the board of town commissioners.

Police Cpl. Greg Lynch on Friday, June 16 confirmed that he was among 12 town employees who signed the letter to the mayor and four town commissioners accusing Appelbaum of gross misconduct in office and demanding the town manager's "immediate and permanent removal" from his post.

In the letter, complainants cite seven accusations in seven categories against Appelbaum, including abusive conduct toward employees, racial discrimination and improper or dishonest dealings.

In the letter, allegations against the town manager run the gamut, from wearing pajama bottoms to work "without underwear" to keeping a voodoo doll on his desk and asking employees who enter his office to "rub the doll."

When reached Friday evening, Appelbaum said he was aware of the letter, but would not comment.

"I will comment at the appropriate time," he said.

The police chief was not available late Friday to comment, and Lynch would not discuss allegations outlined in the 11-page letter, saying the issue was in the hands of legal counsel.

"I confirm that I signed it," Lynch said late Friday, June 16. "I am not at liberty to discuss the matter.

"It is in the hands of our law firm," he also said.

Cooke also would not comment when reached Friday on vacation in Florida, citing potential litigation. He also said that because of his out-of-town travel, he had not had a chance to read the letter.

"Since it threatens a lawsuit, I won't comment until we can confer with the town attorney," Cooke said in a telephone interview. He also said town commissioner Diane Hanson is acting mayor in his absence.

In March 2016, the town commission approved a new two-year contract for Appelbaum with an annual salary of $75,396.

Appelbaum is a former Dewey town commissioner who, after completing a two-year term, became acting town manager and then was hired to the post permanently about three years ago, the mayor said.

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