Incumbent Mayor John Embert is being challenged by Councilman Robert Johnson

The Smyrna election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 30 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Citizens’ Hose Company (Smyrna Firehouse), 103 W. Commerce St.

Two candidates are running for mayor: incumbent John Embert and Councilman Robert Johnson. Here are their profiles in alphabetical order:

John L. Embert III

Age: 47

Years lived in Smyrna: 47

Family: Wife, Lisa, and daughter, Allison

Education: no reply

Occupation: Manager of the custodial staff at Smyrna High School.

Leadership experience: I have been involved in the local government for the past six years and have served in the following positions: Mayor of Smyrna, 2017-present; Smyrna Councilperson, 2013-2017. I am currently the chairperson of the Economic Development Committee. As Councilperson, I served on the following committees: Public Safety (chair, one year), Finance, and Shade Tree. I represented the town on the 250th Anniversary Committee.

I am a life member of the Citizens’ Hose Company and served as fire chief from 2007-2009. While serving as fire chief, I served in an advisory position on the Smyrna Planning and Zoning Commission. I served as a fire line officer from 1998-2006. I also chaired the committee planning the 125th Anniversary events for the fire company.

In my current position with the Smyrna School District, I manage the custodial staff at Smyrna High School. This includes coordinating staff, handling employee issues and ensuring the building systems are maintained and functioning correctly.

What are the three most important issues in Smyrna and how would you propose handling them?

One of the most important issues is updating and repairing the town's infrastructure to support new growth. Currently, we are implementing a rate study that was completed this past winter. Implementing the changes included in the rate study will make our utilities self-sufficient and cover the debt services cost, allowing the town to keep up with maintaining the infrastructure.

Another important issue is economic development. I will continue to work with the Kent Economic Partnership and town staff to recruit new businesses and improve retention of current businesses. This includes speaking with prospective businesses to discuss the benefits of coming to the Town of Smyrna, available locations and permit requirements.

Quality of life is another important issue for the town. I would continue to support the Smyrna at Night and Summer Concert Series events. I will work to continue improve the town parks and Lake Como by improving equipment and expanding events held at these locations.

What qualities, characteristics and/or experience do you have that will help the town if elected?

I have six years of experience (four as a councilperson and two as mayor) with the Town of Smyrna. Having this experience will allow many of the current projects to continue without delay. I am dedicated to the Town of Smyrna. I make the time and commitment to attend meetings and events held throughout the year on behalf of the town. I meet with constituents to resolve issues. I have perseverance when working to resolve issues and implement processes while working through obstacles along the way.

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Robert C. Johnson

Age: 66

Years lived in Smyrna: From 1953-1975 and 1999-present

Family: Divorced, with two adult children, a son, Robert C. Johnson Jr., 39, who has four children; and a daughter, Ifetayo D. Johnson-Roundtree, 34.

Education: Graduated from Smyrna High School in 1971; Graduated from Delaware State University in 1975 with a bachelor of science degree in accounting and business administration.

Occupation: Currently employed with the State of Delaware as a state accountant V.

Retired as accounting manager for the City of Wilmington, April 1996-March 2012.

Former senior accountant for the City of Wilmington, 1987-March 1996.

Former auditor, Opportunities Industrial Centers of America, 1979-1987.

Leadership experience: Member of Association of Governmental Accountants, member of Smyrna High School Wall of Fame, member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.

Member of the Smyrna School District Oversight Committee, appointed by the former Smyrna School District superintendent.

Member of Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee, nominated by Kent County Levy Court president.

Chairman of the City of Wilmington Audit Review Committee, appointed by the mayor of Wilmington.

Member of the State of Delaware Advisory Panel to DEFAC, appointed by the governor.

As a Smyrna Town Councilman, served as chairman of the Finance Committee, 2013-2015, chairman of the Utility Committee, 2014-2016 and chairman of the Charter Review Committee.

Now serving as council secretary, 2017-present for a second term, chairman of the Negotiating Committee, 2017-present, and chairman of the Audit Committee, 2017 - present.

Former basketball coach in the Smyrna PAL Basketball League and former mentor of two eighth graders at the Smyrna Middle School mentoring program.

What are the three most important issues in Smyrna and how would you propose handling them?

Transparency – I feel that the town government has an obligation to share information with citizens that is needed so they are able to make informed decisions and be in a knowledgeable position to hold town officials accountable for their conduct of the town's business. I will require the town’s website to be updated to reflect the following: monthly and annual financial reports, the updated annual budget, up-to-date agendas, minutes and council recordings. I will require that all forms be placed online, especially business forms like for a business license. That will help us monitor the flow of active and inactive businesses. The gain or loss of revenue from business licenses affects our daily operations.

Economic Development – Work to increase our efforts to attract businesses to Smyrna and work diligently with the existing businesses to maintain their status quo. I will seek ways to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for our community. I will be looking at existing revenue streams to validate that we are billing and collecting everything due to us. Then work with the Economic Development Committee to continue to seek additional revenue sources to increase our tax base and limit the need to increase property taxes, raise electric and/or water rates.

New library – There has been a proposal to build a new Smyrna Library since around 2008. My goal is to look at current resources to assist with the construction and funding of the daily operations after completion. This project has been a reachable vision for many years. Now is the time for the town council, citizens and Library Guild to come to the table and complete this project.

What qualities, characteristics and/or experience do you have that will help the town if elected?

I believe with over 30 years of experience working in state and local governments, my varied governmental working knowledge makes me uniquely qualified for this position.

I have eight years of experience as a councilman and served on various committees as well as council secretary. I have served on the various committees under the last three mayors.

I was appointed by the governor to serve on the Advisory Panel to DEFAC as a citizen representative. The mayor of Wilmington appointed me to a five year term as chairman of the Audit Review Committee that involves reviewing the annual financial report and the audits conducted by their internal audit department.

I have experience in monitoring and preparing budgeting, preparing financial reports, and understanding of internal controls of an organization.

The one thing I really enjoy about local politics is that it is non-partisan. Everyone works together for the common good of the Town of Smyrna. We select the most qualified person for the job.