Statement from Town of Dewey Beach Commissioners regarding Personnel Matters

Date: July 24, 2017




Recent allegations have challenged whether attorney Max Walton is sufficiently independent to investigate the complaints filed against the Dewey Beach Town Manager.


After discussions with our Town Solicitor, we have concluded this contention has no validity. Mr. Walton has had no meaningful relationship with Mr. Appelbaum and his only contact with other Town officials ended approximately 7 years ago.  The email in which Mr. Appelbaum expresses admiration for the quality of Mr. Walton’s legal ability does not suggest a lack of independence.  The same is true with respect to the other emails we have been asked to examine. There is simply no basis to conclude Mr. Walton lacks the necessary independence to fairly conduct this important investigation. Therefore, Mr. Townsend will direct Mr. Walton’s team to proceed as quickly as possible to complete the investigation.


We understand that, on advice of counsel, those who have made these serious allegations have thus far refused to participate in the investigation of those very same complaints. We believe our Charter obliges us, in the interest of all parties, to resolve this matter in a timely and fair manner. To that end, we would urge those alleging violations, the Town Manager, and any others who have evidence relevant to the charges to arrange to meet with Mr. Walton’s team as soon as possible.  We have an obligation to consider any and all information available as we determine an appropriate course of action.


Mr. Walton’s team has been asked to make an assessment of the claims.  That is the scope of his investigation and it needs to be completed expeditiously with interviews of all those who have relevant evidence. Once the investigation has been completed, we will receive a report and decide the next step.  


We understand that the complainants have turned to the Delaware Public Integrity Commission and our investigation may be helpful to that process. However, we cannot shirk our responsibility to investigate these allegations and obtain a full and clear understanding of all relevant facts.  As elected town officials, it is our obligation to protect the rights and welfare of all the employees involved.