Cape Gazette

Wheatley appears to have conflict of interest

By Theresa Pyle | Sep 02, 2014

There has been much talk about a county code of ethics to eliminate conflicts of interest. My biggest concern about conflicts of interest revolves around Bob Wheatley, head of Sussex Planning & Zoning, who is running for Sussex County Council.

Just think, Wheatley's county position allows him to recommend yea or nay to County Council on just about anything to be built or developed in our county. The majority of P and Z commissioners usually vote with Wheatley. So it's a one-man band, essentially,in recommending projects to the County Council.

What's wrong with this picture? Plenty. Wheatley heads up the business development office of the Whayland Company, a construction management firm. On its website, Whayland offers the following services:

''Through our long involvement with planning and zoning issues and our affiliation with SVN Delaware LLC, a commercial real estate advisory firm, Whayland has special expertise in site identification, analysis and selection. We can also walk you through land use processes for comprehensive planning, zoning changes, conditional uses, special exceptions and compliance issues." Wheatley also sells real estate.

If this isn't a conflict, I don't know what is. What is developed and how it is supported is the biggest question confronting Sussex today. We need a fair playing field on planning and zoning. Even the appearance of conflict of interest should not be tolerated.

Theresa Pyle

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