Governor Signs Executive Order to Increase Online Safety & Security

Establishes cyber security council to mitigate risks and make recommendations to improve overall cyber security efforts

Presents tribute to student for winning national cyber poster contest – Photo available

Dover, DE – Recognizing the ever-increasing need to strengthen online safety and security in a society that relies heavily on the internet, Governor Markell today signed Executive Order 55, establishing the Delaware Cyber Security Advisory Council. The council will bring together key members of state agencies, higher education, and small and large businesses to support and make recommendations on issues such as:

  • Developing best practices to mitigate cyber security risks to critical infrastructure and protected systems;
  • Improving overall cyber security posture across all sectors in Delaware; and
  • Increasing information sharing between all sectors in Delaware.

View Full E.O. 55 Text

“Maintaining the security of cyberspace must be a shared responsibility,” said Markell. “National security and law enforcement leaders have called cyber threats the greatest risk facing our state and our nation. Raising awareness of computer security best practices as well as bringing together government agencies and private sector organizations to develop new strategies to protect our cyber infrastructure is critical to ensuring continued safety and security for all Delawareans.”Cybersecurity

The Council’s work will support efforts by the Delaware Department of Technology & Information in preventing, detecting, preparing for and responding to cyberattacks. The Council will be the central interface for coordinating cyber security initiatives among the public and private sectors, as well as for promoting further safety and security of critical cyber infrastructure.

“Government has the solemn duty to lead the efforts to protect the information and resources of Delaware,” said James Collins, Delaware’s Chief Information Officer and Council member. “Executive Order 55 will allow our state to benefit from a multidisciplinary, cross sector approach to cyber security.”

E.O. 55 builds on previous efforts by the Markell administration to prevent and mitigate the impact of cyber-attacks, including workforce development initiatives that address the increased demand for IT and cyber security professionals. In 2009, Delaware became one of the first states in the nation to host the U.S. Cyber Challenge Camps focused on attracting young people to pursue a career in information security. The state also participated in the Cyber Aces training initiative, an online, cyber security education and training program. Nearly 300 participants have graduated either from Delaware’s Cyber Aces or Cyber Challenge Camp programs.

Delaware’s cyber security efforts are recognized nationally. In 2012, Delaware received the Cyber Security Innovation Award for creating a new certification program for information security officers, and Delaware’s public cyber security website has taken first place in three of the last six years in the annual Best of the Web national contest.

National Poster Contest Winner (Photos available here)

NeelaMoodyAnnouncing the Executive Order in his legislative hall office today, the Governor also presented a tribute to Gallaher Elementary fifth grade student Neela Moody as the national winner of the K-12 Computer Safety Poster Contest, with her submission finishing first among more than 600 entries. This contest, sponsored by the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC), encourages young people to use the Internet securely and engages them in creating messages to communicate to their peers the importance of staying safe online. Her artwork is featured on the cover of the MS-ISAC 2016 calendar.

“I applaud Neela for her outstanding work,” said Markell. “She is a wonderful role model for her peers and is helping us build cyber security awareness for our students at a young age as we recognize that all of our citizens have a role to play in protecting our networks.”


New Efforts Announced In Delaware Challenge To End Veteran Homelessness

New Castle, DE – Today in New Castle, Governor Markell joined other officials and partners for a meeting of the state working group on the Delaware Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness where they announced several new efforts in the statewide effort to end veteran homelessness.  These initiatives build on progress so far that has resulted in housing for 140 homeless veterans since January.

New Initiatives to end Veterans homelessness in Delaware:

100-day Statewide Challenge:  The state is launching a statewide 100-day challenge to permanently house 96 homeless Veterans, starting October 23 and ending with the annual Point in Time study in late January 2016. The Point in Time study is the process by which Veteran homelessness is measured nationally each year.  The goal is to build momentum and focus statewide energy in the final months of the effort to end Veteran homelessness in Delaware.

Veterans Count Outreach Event (November 10-12, 2015): A key part of ending Veteran homelessness is demonstrating that all homeless Veterans have been identified, including those not actively seeking assistance.  Veterans Count Delaware is a state-wide outreach effort that will take place during a 3-day period, including November 11, Veterans Day. Volunteers are needed to help with this initiative.

Landlord Recruitment: Landlords interested in renting to Veterans, especially landlords who are willing to be flexible on credit, criminal background, and similar requirements to help Veterans who are turning their lives around, are needed. Concerted landlord outreach efforts, including new Public Service Announcements (PSAs) with a call for landlords to participate, and awards for organizations and landlords permanently housing the most homeless Veterans.

Last year, HUD, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National League of Cities called on mayors across the country to make a commitment to end Veteran homelessness in their cities in 2015. On any given night, 100 Veterans in Delaware are homeless.

After announcing his intent to end homelessness among Veterans in Delaware within a year in his State of the State Address, in May 2015, Governor Markell unveiled the State’s plan to achieve this goal and signed on to the national Challenge.

The plan called for actions including: identifying Veterans who are currently homeless or at a high risk of homelessness; improving connections and coordination between Veteran-specific and mainstream resources; and long-term changes to ensure that Veterans who may face homelessness in the future are connected to the resources they need quickly and effectively. The Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) also created 20 rental assistance vouchers dedicated to Veterans through the State Rental Assistance Program (SRAP), which provides integrated community housing with supportive services.

A state working group brings together key state and federal partners and representatives from local committees on a monthly basis to steer and monitor progress on the statewide effort. All three counties in Delaware, the cities of Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Seaford, Georgetown, Bridgeville, Greenwood, and Blades have also signed on. Local groups are working in all three counties on direct outreach and community mobilization. On any given night, 100 Veterans in Delaware are homeless. Together, 140 Veterans have been permanently housed as of September 2015.

Governor Jack Markell stated, “I am proud of Delaware’s progress towards ending Veteran homelessness.  We committed to the challenge, developed a plan, built the partnerships, and are off and running just since earlier this year. Together, we have housed 140 homeless Veterans since January 2015. There is more to be done to finish the job, and we’ve set a goal to help 96 more Veterans over the next 100 days. Like the entire Challenge, this is an ambitious target, but the goal is a critical one, and worthy of pushing our expectations of what we can achieve.”

DSHA Director Anas Ben Addi stated, “Delaware is one of only eight states who have risen to this Challenge. Like other communities, we intend to change the misperception that veteran homelessness is a problem that cannot be solved. To reach our goal, we need to be sure we have reached every homeless Veteran, and we need landlords willing to be a part of the team helping homeless Veterans. Supportive services and rental assistance from community providers help Veterans get back on their feet, but difficulty locating and being approved for rental housing is often a primary barrier.”

Landlords! Help us help our Vets! (video PSA below)

Governor Jack Markell

Senator Tom Carper


Governor Announces Executive Order to Increase Pedestrian Safety and Walkability

Council will help set pedestrian infrastructure priorities to make paths safer and better connected

Wilmington, DE – Building on his initiative to make Delaware a more walkable and bikeable state, Governor Markell today announced an Executive Order to increase safety, accessibility, and connectedness of pedestrian paths throughout the state. E.O. 54 establishes the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness, which will bring together key members of state agencies, local government representatives, as well as non-profit and citizen advocates to support and make recommendations on issues such as:

  • Identifying and fixing gaps in pedestrian paths and sidewalks;
  • Designing crosswalks, sidewalks, and pathways in the most effective way possible and ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Reviewing traffic rules to support a safe pedestrian environment; and
  • Developing strategies for pedestrian safety education and awareness.

Full text of Executive Order 54 is available here.

The Council’s work will add to the success of the First State Trails and Pathways Initiative, which is creating more than 50 miles of new trails and has raised Delaware’s bike-friendly ranking from 31st to 3rd in the nation. The initiative has helped link communities and existing paths through interconnected pathway networks, as well as create and maintain “complete streets” that promote safe access for all types of transportation.

In issuing E.O. 54, Markell also noted the responsibility of the state to address the number of pedestrian fatalities, of which there have been 26 so far in 2015.

“We have made tremendous progress in making our transportation system more effective for everyone, and I’m proud that we have paid more attention than ever before to walking and biking,” said Markell. “Improving walkability raises the quality of life in our communities, which in turn makes them more attractive places to live and work, while also increasing property values. I am asking the Pedestrian Council to revisit Delaware’s Statewide Pedestrian Action Plan last updated in 2007, and to report to me their findings and recommendations and to help catalyze further improvements.”

DelDOT, which has recently undertaken many major projects aimed at pedestrian use, will provide expert staff and support to the Council.

“This Council has a vital role to play in helping the state to focus on these issues and ensure our work is prioritized most effectively,” said DelDOT Secretary Jennifer Cohan. “We have made a lot of improvements in the last few years, but we know there is a lot of ground to cover and our mission to ensure Delaware is the most walkable state in the country never ends. I look forward to the opportunity to work with other safety and mobility advocates statewide to better identify how we can meet the needs and priorities for serving pedestrians and prevent future tragedies.”

Projects recently completed or now underway include:

  • The installation of a pedestrian‐hybrid beacon at the intersection of DE Route 8 and Heatherfield Way
  • Upgrades to pedestrian facilities including crosswalks and pedestrian signals at 28 intersections.
  • Installation of sidewalks, crosswalks, new signals and lighting in the SR 1 corridor between Lewes and Rehoboth Beach.

Included in areas that Cohan has identified for improvements are many suburban areas where families are dependent on motor vehicles for almost every activity, or in some cases take unacceptable risks in walking along or crossing our roads. In addition, too many exiting sidewalks include barriers to those with disabilities, while others begin and end without making important connections that would provide safe pedestrian routes for students, transit users, shoppers, seniors and others likely to include walking as a mobility choice. Motorists and pedestrians also must have a better understanding of Delaware laws.


Governor Markell Issues Limited State of Emergency in Sussex County

Coastal flood warnings in effect along Atlantic Coast and Delaware Bay

Wilmington, DE – With moderate to major coastal flooding expected at high tides today and tomorrow, along with high wind warnings along the coast, Governor Jack Markell has issued a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, effective immediately.  State offices will remain open and no driving restrictions are being implemented, however localized road closures may occur as conditions warrant it.  See full text below.

Residents of flood-prone areas of Sussex County and throughout Delaware are at risk of significant flooding and residents of those areas should seriously consider taking precautionary measures, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for potential evacuation and use of travel routes around flooded streets and roads.  A list of flood-prone areas is included below.

“Though predicted rainfall totals have dropped and the expected path of Hurricane Joaquin remains well off-coast, high winds and coastal flooding will significantly impact Sussex County,” said Governor Markell. “State and local officials are taking the necessary steps to prepare for possible evacuations and road closures and the National Guard has been deployed to Kent and Sussex Counties to support those efforts, as needed. Residents in flood-prone areas of the state should prepare accordingly and continue to monitor communications from state and local agencies for updates.”


Flood-Prone Areas of Sussex County

Sussex County Delaware Bay Communities

Slaughter Beach

Prime Hook Beach

Broadkill Beach

Lewes Beach, east of the Rehoboth Lewes canal


Sussex County Ocean Coastal Communities

Areas within ¾ of a mile of the coast in the following communities:

Henlopen Acres

Rehoboth Beach

Dewey Beach

North Bethany

Bethany Beach

South Bethany

Fenwick Island


Sussex County Inland Bay Communities

Areas surrounding the Rehoboth Bay, Indian River and Little Assawoman Bay

Flood-prone areas south of Route 24 (John J. Williams Highway) including Angola, Long Neck and Oak Orchard

Flood-prone areas along Route 26 (Vines Creek Road and Atlantic Avenue)

Flood-prone areas along Route 54 (Lighthouse Road)


Sussex County Western Communities

Flood-prone areas in close proximity to the Nanticoke and Broad Creek Rivers

WHEREAS, as of Friday, October 2, 2015, a Nor’easter system has affected the State of Delaware and is projected to continue to impact the State as Hurricane Joaquim moves north and interacts with the system, and

WHEREAS, rain and high tides from that system have resulted in flooding conditions in Sussex County, Delaware; and

WHEREAS, weather conditions throughout Sussex County and continuing for the remainder of the week and into the weekend may continue to exacerbate said flooding; and

WHEREAS, the effects of this storm system threaten public safety and have the potential to cause major damage to the infrastructure of Sussex County; and

WHEREAS, based upon evidence presented to me by the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, I have found that the potential for the occurrence of an emergency is high in Sussex County; and

WHEREAS, flood-prone areas of Sussex County and throughout Delaware are at risk of significant flooding, and residents of those areas should seriously consider taking precautionary measures, including evacuating voluntarily or planning for potential evacuation and use of travel routes around flooded streets and roads; and

WHEREAS, it is necessary to pre-stage and potentially deploy resources and assets of the Delaware National Guard in anticipation of responding to any such threats to public safety;

NOW THEREFORE, I, JACK A. MARKELL, pursuant to Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, do hereby declare a Limited State of Emergency for Sussex County, Delaware.  This Limited State of Emergency is effective on October 2, 2015, as of 12:00 p.m.  The nature of the emergency is flooding and its potential effects caused by the storm beginning October 1, 2015, and continuing thereafter.  Along with such other actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code, I specifically direct and authorize:

  1. All departments and agencies of the State of Delaware shall assist in response and recovery activities, as directed by and in coordination with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, necessary in those areas of Sussex County affected by the storm.
  1. The Delaware National Guard shall take precautionary or responsive actions directed by the Director of the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, in consultation with the Secretary of Safety and Homeland Security, upon request by local authorities in impacted areas of Sussex County.
  1. The Delaware Emergency Management Agency shall activate the State Emergency Operations Plan and cooperate with federal authorities, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency in making application, if necessary for relief and assistance for those towns and communities adversely affected by the continuing storms, pursuant to the Delaware Emergency Operations Plan and any potentially applicable federal disaster or emergency relief laws, including but not limited to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.
  1. Unless otherwise directed, all normal operations of State government shall continue without interruption.
  1. I reserve the right to take, or direct state or local authorities to take, without issuance of further written order, any other necessary actions authorized by Title 20, Chapter 31 of the Delaware Code to respond to this emergency.

Approved this 2nd day of October, 2015, at 12:00 p.m.

Governor Markell Announces Review of State Expenditures

Committee of Private Sector and Public Sector Leaders to Review State Spending and Identify Opportunities for Savings 

Wilmington, DE – Governor Jack Markell announced today the signing of Executive Order No. 52, creating the Delaware Expenditure Review Committee. Led by Fred Sears of the Delaware Community Foundation, the Committee will review state government for opportunities to create efficiencies and provide services in a more cost-effective manner. The Committee, comprised of private sector appointees from the Governor and all four caucuses of the General Assembly, brings together representatives of the business community, unions, government and the non-profit sector.

“Delaware’s revenue sources don’t grow with our economy, so even as our state’s economy has improved, we face tremendous budget challenges,” said Governor Markell. “We must do everything we can to deliver the most value to Delawareans at a reasonable cost and the committee I’m creating today builds on six years of work to make government more efficient in providing high quality services to our citizens. The results so far have produced the least amount of budget growth during any administration – Republican or Democrat – in modern history. We must remain open to evaluating new ideas and look forward to partnering with the private sector to continue this effort.”

When accounting for inflation and population growth, the state budget has shrunk by an average of 0.58 percent per year during the Markell Administration, representing significantly less growth in spending than any prior administration in the last 30 years. That success in containing costs during a time of high demand for government services is the result of a wide range of efforts since 2009, from the Government Performance Review that generated $35 million in savings opportunities that year to additional savings through energy efficiency gains, attrition in cabinet-level agencies, pension reform, and more.

The Committee established by E.O. 52 provides an additional opportunity at an important time to fully examine other ideas to increase efficiency. This initiative complements the work of the DEFAC Advisory Council on revenues, which put together options for the state to raise revenue in a way that better reflects Delaware’s economic progress.

“This is a unique opportunity to bring together private and public sector leaders to take a look at how the State may be able to find savings,” said Fred Sears, Chairperson of the Committee.  “This is not going to be easy, but I think the Governor and legislative leaders have appointed a good team that is prepared to go to work.”

“The JFC has made it a top priority to examine our budget for areas where we can save the taxpayers money while improving outcomes for everyone who relies on government services,” said Rep. Melanie Smith.  “The JFC welcomes the input, time and ideas of our friends and colleagues in the private sector, and looks forward to working together.”

“The Joint Finance Committee has one of the most difficult jobs in state government – making sure that we pass a balanced budget that reflects our values,” said Sen. Harris McDowell. “Every year, we come through on that, but it isn’t getting any easier. We face difficult decision to meet the needs of Delawareans and hopefully this group can help us with those.”

“This Committee is a worthwhile endeavor and the State Chamber looks forward to working with the Administration and legislature on the Committee’s recommendations,” said State Chamber of Commerce President A. Richard Heffron.

The Committee – a bipartisan group of government and private sector leaders – includes:

  • Chairman Fred Sears – Delaware Community Foundation, appointed by the Speaker of the House and designated as Chairperson by the Co-Chairs of JFC
  • Fred Cottrell – Richards, Layton & Finger, appointed by the Senate Minority Leader
  • Rick Gessner – Capital One, representing the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce
  • Dennis Greenhouse – Former County Executive and State Auditor
  • The Hon. Joshua Martin – Chairperson of DEFAC; Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP
  • Robert McMurray – Christiana Care Health System, representing the Delaware Business Roundtable
  • Mike Morton – Controller General
  • Ed Ratledge – Chairperson of DEFAC’s Subcommittee on Expenditures; University of Delaware
  • Jack Riddle – Community Bank, appointed by the House Minority Leader
  • Jeff Taschner – DSEA, appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore
  • Ann Visalli – Director of the Office of Management and Budget
  • Lincoln Willis – Former State Representative; Willis Chevrolet

The text of the Executive Order follows:





WHEREAS, the Delaware Economic & Financial Council (DEFAC) Advisory Council on Revenues has examined the State of Delaware’s revenue portfolio and determined that more than half of Delaware’s revenue sources do not grow in proportion to the overall economy;

WHEREAS, as a result of the lack of growth among major revenue categories, total state revenues in FY 2016 are estimated to be less than FY 2015;

WHEREAS, the General Assembly and the administration have managed the State’s budget responsibly, with budgets that are balanced every year and budget growth that is only 2.3% annually during the Markell administration and that is actually negative 0.58% if adjusted for inflation and population growth during that time;

WHEREAS, the Markell administration has eliminated more than 1,000 state positions between FY 2009 and FY 2016, reduced overall head count by more than 600 employees, reduced energy costs, enacted state employee health and pension reform, reduced fleet costs, and implemented savings programs in Medicaid, Long-Term Care, and many other programs;

WHEREAS, as a result of these efforts and other budget savings, the Delaware state budget has grown less during the Markell administration than any other administration in a generation or more;

WHEREAS, even with well-managed budgets, the absence of robust revenue growth that tracks Delaware’s economy and the State of Delaware’s expenses creates an anticipated budget deficit of more than $100 million in FY 2017, and that deficit has the potential to grow as expenses continue to climb and revenue sources do not keep up;

WHEREAS, the Delaware General Assembly and Joint Finance Committee are interested in identifying opportunities for savings in the state budget and have begun efforts to identify savings through reviews by the Pew Charitable Foundation and attempts to identify savings in programs like Medicaid;

WHEREAS, the Governor and the General Assembly are committed to responsible management and administration of the state’s budget, including identifying opportunities for achieving better savings for taxpayers;

WHEREAS, a comprehensive review of state spending can identify opportunities to achieve savings in a manner that allows for the continued provision of effective service to Delawareans, particularly those who depend on government services in times of need.

NOW, THEREFORE I, JACK A. MARKELL, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Delaware, do hereby DECLARE and ORDER that:

  1. The Delaware Expenditure Review Committee is hereby created.
  2. The Committee shall be comprised of twelve members.  The Committee shall be comprised of the Chairperson of DEFAC, the Chairperson of DEFAC’s Subcommittee on Expenditures, the Controller General or his designee, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or her designee, one person appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, one person appointed by the Speaker of the House, one person appointed by the Minority Leader of the Senate, one person appointed by the Minority Leader of the House, and four public members appointed by the Governor.  The Co-Chairpersons of the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee shall designate a member from among those appointed to serve as chairperson of the Committee.
  3. Members of the Committee shall receive no compensation, but shall be reimbursed for customary and usual expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.  The Committee shall act by majority vote and may adopt public procedures and standards for the conduct of its affairs, consistent with this Order.  A quorum of the Committee shall consist of a majority of members.
  4. The Committee is tasked with a review of state government services to evaluate whether there are opportunities to provide government services in a manner that is more efficient, more effective, or can be performed at less cost to taxpayers.  The Committee shall review any such proposals in a manner that gives consideration to both the overall cost savings that might be obtained and the positive and negative effects of those savings on the provision of services.
  5. The Committee is authorized to call upon volunteer assistance from its membership or other interested parties, and may retain such advisors or consultants as appropriate to assist its work.  The compensation of any advisor or consultants shall be approved jointly by the Office of Management and Budget and Controller General.
  6. On or before January 29, 2016, the Committee shall report to the Governor and the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly any findings and any recommendations for the State of Delaware’s operations or budget.
  7. The Office of Management and Budget and Controller General’s Office shall provide staff support to assist the Committee in performing its duties and shall, upon request, provide the Committee with reports and data helpful to the Committee’s ability to perform its assigned duties.  All executive branch state agencies and departments shall cooperate with the Committee when requested.
  8. The Delaware Expenditure Review Committee shall be terminated on June 30, 2016, if not reconstituted by further executive order.