Council appoints longtime finance employee to pension board

By Tom Lehman 11:05pm, April 23, 2013 - Updated 11:00am, April 24, 2013
County council approves the appointment of a longtime finance department employee to the employees' pension board.

WDEL's Tom Lehman reports.

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Council approved the appointment of Michael Finnegan as the newest member of the county employees' pension board. He was sworn in at Tuesday night's meeting.

Councilman George Smiley, who sponsored the resolution for Finnegan's appointment, says the incoming board member brings experience to the group.

"He was with the finance department for 36 years, he handled everything in New Castle County, plus he has a private business of his own with taxes and things and he watches investments and everything else," Smiley says.

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Finnegan is the father of Smiley's aide, but the councilman says the newest appointee was selected based on the merits of his experience in the field. He says he was unaware of the relation until a few months after she was hired.

"He's good for the position. I think he'll do very well," he says.

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Councilman John Cartier says Finnigan's appointment answers critics of the council's previous choice of Terry Stone to serve on the pension board.

Stone's appointment, which was approved at council's last meeting, came under criticism from the county executive's office. The administration argued that the candidate didn't have the proper financial background to participate in the management of the pension fund.

"We will respond to those critics and send a message: New Castle County Council cares about the pension fund and stewardship of those assets for our pensioners," Cartier says.

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Smiley says the board still has one vacancy to be filled by council's appointment.

Council also voted for the approval of a rezoning at Walker Farms in to allow for development of more than 47 townhome and single-family homes.

Councilman Cartier lauded the plan because it allowed for a historic barn to remain part of the property.

"It's great to see a project development looking at a historic building as an asset to the project and not something to be swept away and thrown into a dumpster," he says.

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Councilwoman Janet Kilpatrick, who sponsored the rezoning ordinance, says local civic groups did not oppose the plan, which was passed unanimously.

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