The Dewey Beach Town Council will not rush to make a decision regarding the recent allegations against Town Manager Marc Appelbaum, officials said Thursday.
Appelbaum was accused in a letter dated June 14 by officers of the Dewey Beach Police Department, the Beach Patrol and members of town administration of misconduct including unprofessional behavior, sexual harassment, racial discrimination and misusing his office for personal ends.
"Dewey Beach Town Council recognizes that the personnel complaint submitted on June (14) warrants a thorough and independent investigation," the council said in a statement released by Acting Mayor Diane Hanson and town attorney Fred Townsend.
"Once formalized, the mechanics of the investigation will be made public. Council is firmly committed to a process that is full and fair to the complainants and to the subject of the accusations."
The statement said Assistant Town Manager Jim Dedes will act as a point of contact with the complainants while the investigation continues, which could take weeks.
It was not immediately clear if Appelbaum was on paid leave or continuing to work for the town while the investigation continues.
"Your patience is appreciated while town hall continues to meet the demands of an approaching busy summer season," the statement concluded.
Allegations were made in a signed, 11-page letter to the mayor and town council dated June 14, demanding that Appelbaum be permanently removed from office. The letter accused the council of ignoring evidence of misconduct when it appointed Appelbaum as town manager, and of effectively condoning his behavior.
The alleged behavior formed a pattern of abuse and bullying that coerced employees to serve Appelbaum's whims, the complainants wrote.
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.
Among the signatures on the letter were those of Police Chief Sam Mackert, Sgt. Clifford Dempsey, Cpl. Greg Lynch, Beach Patrol Capt. Todd Fritchman and town building inspector William Mears.
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Since that time, neither the complainants nor town commissioners would comment on the situation except through formal statements issued by the council through the town's attorney.
The allegations came while Mayor Dale Cooke was on vacation in Florida and Hanson, a former mayor of the town, was acting as mayor in his absence.
The council renewed Appelbaum's contract as town manager in March for two years with an annual salary of $75,396. He was previously a town commissioner and acting town manager until three years ago, when he was hired to the position formally by the council.