Recently appointed Sussex County Administrator Todd. F. Lawson already has critics because he has no experience in local government…..soooo what?

Running any business whether you have had success in that field or not depends on how you manage your organization. I would think being a lobbyists in Washington, D.C. he knows better than anyone in DE the inner workings of the legislature, and what it takes to get the job done and howto massage his employees. He should know how to wheel and deal to get the job done; just being Mr. Nice Guy doesn’t work.

Do his critics think he isn’t smart enough to run a government, that someone has to have a background in running county, state or local government?

When I went to work for the county, first as  airport director, and director of the Industrial Park, I came from a shoe repair background, but with a good knowledge of politics but knew nothing about aviation. Heck, I don’t even fly, but I put together a network or people who knew aviation, and worked my way in with officials from the FAA; end result $18 million in Federal money for the airport, and 650 new jobs and several new businesses at the Industrial Park.

With only a high school education I was the assistant to the Secretary of Public Safety under the Tribbitt administration. Under my umbrella was State Police, Motor Vehicle, State Communications.  With the help of my staff I learned the budget process, how to make one up, presented budgets to the JFC and lobbied legislation for my departments.

Under me were people with Dr. and PhD degrees, and I received their respect. The governor wrote me a letter when I left saying my cabinet was the best run he had.

When I left the county and became State Election Commissioner, I knew about elections, but not how the system worked. We introduced 13 bills many that were controversal changes, received $17 million in grants, the first for the department, purchased new voting machines, purchased new equipment that made each county election office more efficient.

Not patting myself on the back, just trying to make a point; I have nothing against education, but you can’t teach common sense, or how to get along with others and being on top of your job.

We had no money to offer potential businesses in the county, but two of them who had better offers said they came to Sussex because my office was able to provide them with the answers and help they needed in an expedient manner. All calls in my office had to be answered within 24 hours or else catch it from me.

Mr. Layfield has a machine in place that works; good directors, employees who know their job. His job is to be fair and honest with them, support them, communicate with them, listen, listen and listen to them and then cultivate their ideas or concerns.

If he does that he will be a good administrator. If he won’t go to bat for them, not return calls, not stop in their office to say a hello or how’s it going, he will fail, they will not respect him and not go out of their way to simplfy his job.

It’s that simple.



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