Posted: Jan. 22, 2003
RODNEY RIDES AGAIN
James R. Soles, a political scientist recently
retired from the University of Delaware, and some ex-students who
went on to political or public office have formed a consulting firm
and given it a name to live up to.
It is called The Rodney Group after Caesar
Rodney, the Delaware patriot who rode his way into legend in 1776
with his arduous journey to Philadelphia through thunder and rain to
vote for the Declaration of Independence.
The firm will provide coaching and strategic
planning in career and business growth to individuals, corporations
and non-profit organizations in politics and economic development.
It will neither lobby nor run campaigns.
The firm intends to draw its clients from such
groups as politicians trying to map out their future, corporations
seeking to move into Delaware and non-profits whose growth has
"For organizations who want to come into
Delaware from out of state or for anyone who wants to pursue a
political career, we are able to provide them with insight into the
operation of the state," Soles said.
The firm's partners are a bipartisan cast.
Soles himself comes out of Democratic politics, as do Lawrence E.
Windley, a former assistant secretary of state in the Carper
administration, and Mark A. Kleinschmidt, a former president of the
New Castle County Economic Development Corp. Robert E. Chadwick was
an executive director for the Delaware Republican Party.
Chadwick will handle the daily operations.
Windley and Kleinschmidt are keeping their day jobs -- Windley with
a startup energy firm and Kleinschmidt with a management consulting
firm. The Rodney Group has an office at 208 Delaware St. in New
Castle, and Chadwick can be contacted at 302-345-7238.
The firm also has two affiliates who will work
as needed: Richard S. Mroz, who was the chief legal counsel to
former New Jersey Republican Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, and Alan
G. Davis, a Sussex County lawyer who handled legislative relations
during the Carper administration for Transportation Secretary Anne
All are bound together by Soles' political
science classes. "Most of us have known each other for 20 years.
These are longstanding relationships," he said.
The firm currently is making presentations and
expects to have two clients signed in the next several weeks, Soles
said. Depending on the client, the contract will be public or
confidential. For example, a candidate who uses campaign funds to
retain the firm will have to disclose it under state law, but a
business or non-profit group could keep its arrangement private.
Whether The Rodney Group will have as lofty a
ride as its namesake remains to be seen. A. Richard Heffron, a
senior vice president for government affairs at the Delaware State
Chamber of Commerce, says companies increasingly are looking for
advice, either from staff or consultants, for strategic planning.
"More and more corporations are doing that.
Obviously you're not going to have staff in every state, so you'd
rather hire a group like this," Heffron said.
"I'll be interested to see how they make out."
# # #
LAWYERS NIGHT OUT
For Calvin L. Scott Jr., a Superior Court
nomination and State Bar Night came together at the right time.
A deputy attorney general who was announced
last week as Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's choice for a judgeship, Scott
also is the vice president-at-large for the Delaware State Bar
Association. It meant he had to be in Dover, anyway, on Tuesday for
the bar association's annual dinner for the General Assembly, so he
headed downstate early.
Scott got to Legislative Hall in the afternoon
to introduce himself to the senators who will vote on his
nomination. In the evening he got to hobnob more casually at the bar
association event at the Dover Sheraton Inn.
If confirmed, Scott would take a Republican
seat in New Castle County on the Superior Court, which hears both
criminal and civil cases. He would serve a 12-year term, currently
paying $140,200 a year, in replacing Judge Carl Goldstein, who
The day appears to have gone well for Scott.
Senate President Pro Tem Thurman G. Adams Jr., a Bridgeville
Democrat, said the chamber plans to hold a confirmation hearing and
vote on Scott's nomination next week, before the legislature breaks
for budget hearings until March.
"I don't know of any problem," Adams said.
As always, State Bar Night provided an
opportunity for cozy connections for Delaware lawyers with the three
branches of government. Judges were there, legislators were there,
and so were Minner and Lt. Gov. John C. Carney Jr., both Democrats.
About 150 people attended.
Awards were given in bipartisan and bicameral
fashion to two lawmakers -- Republican Rep. Gerald A. Buckworth from
Kent County and Democratic Sen. Robert I. Marshall from Wilmington.
The bench and bar also recognized Edward G.
Pollard Jr., the deputy state court administrator responsible for
the new courthouse in Wilmington, even as Superior Court judges
griped aloud about lacking hot water.
There was a special award for J. Dallas
Winslow Jr., the chief of legal services in the Public Defender's
Office and also one-term state senator until Republican Charles L.
Copeland unseated him in September in a primary.
Yes, Copeland came to State Bar Night, but
before Winslow was honored in the final presentation of the evening,
he had slipped off quietly to another meeting. It made for another
moment lacking in hot water.
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