Mayor Mike to Velda: What’s With the Bizarre Announcement?

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki and City Treasure Velma Potter-Jones are sparing over OpenGov, a new online service

Long-simmering tensions between two feuding city political camps boiled over into a public war of words on Friday as Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki labeled “bizarre,” claims by city Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter that she was responsible for the launch of a new government information service.

The Democrat infighting erupted over a $27,000 OpenGov public platform purchased by the administration in 2018. The aggregating platform pulls government data into charts, graphs, maps, and other visual tools to improve government transparency and ideally give citizens insights into government services and their value.

In a blistering afternoon press release, Purzycki said Jones-Potter had taken advantage of being provided early access to the OpenGov transparency tool (to test the site), by prematurely sending the site link to citizens and “claim(ing) credit for something she had nothing to do with.”  

 

In a state where critical comments are rarely leveled against other politicians for public consumption, the on-the-record language of administration officials was striking, as they openly called Jones-Potter’s behavior “strange” and “ironic.”

Purzycki chief of staff Tanya Washington said Jones-Potter’s activity “is as strange as her announcement a few weeks ago saying the Mayor was going to raise property taxes when he actually introduced a budget with no tax increase.” 

No stranger to controversy or hardball politics herself, Jones-Potter insisted to the News Journal she deserves to take credit “for the public ultimately getting access to capital project information.”  The former state treasurer said she has long pushed for government transparency and says the administration has interfered with her efforts.


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