Hear from the voice behind the Governor

By Amy Cherry 4:44pm, October 11, 2012 - Updated 4:56pm, October 11, 2012
Get an inside look at what it means to be the Governor's Chief of Staff.
Current and former Chiefs of Staff give an inside look at what it's like to work for the Governor of Delaware at a Rotary Club panel discussion, moderated by former Congressman and Governor Mike Castle.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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The Chiefs of Staff were asked what pieces of advice they would each give the next Governor. Four of them on stage automatically assumed that would be Governor Markell.

Former Chief of Staff for Governor Pete du Pont, Dave Swayze, says the focus needs to stay on education.

"We have a long way to go. There is so much that needs to be done to provide a qualified workforce in Delaware," says Swayze.

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Michael Ratchford, former Chief of Staff for Governor Castle, says maintaining you and your staff's enthusiasm in the fifth year is key.

"People just get tired. You get worn out, and maintaining that level of energy. You want to maintain high standards, you have to be able to promote people within or bring in the talent you need to run," says Ratchford.

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Markell's current Chief of Staff Tom McGonigle never answered the question, but he did chime in when it came time to talk about the Delaware Way. He says so far it's worked for them.

"We've been fortunate and had very good relationships with the General Assembly, and we've been able to work and get things done really in a bipartisan fashion," says McGonigle.

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But Secretary of State Jeff Bullock says things weren't always that way, not when he was serving as chief of Staff for then Governor Carper.

"Everyone wants to say they're bipartisan, but when you actually have to find the votes to get something done that requires, in out case, the votes of the opposite party, that's when you really test your skill level," says Bullock.

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Though Bullock adds when Markell took over and had to grapple with the worst fiscal crisis this state's ever seen, the Delaware Way came through.

"When times are tough, it's a real good thing to have," Bullock says.

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