See profiles of each of the five candidates in this story.

A special election will be held for one at-large seat on Smyrna Town Council Thursday, June 27 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., at Smyrna Town Hall, 27 S. Market St. Plaza.

The opening happened because Robert Johnson was elected mayor, but he still had two years left on his council term. The election is to fill the remainder of that term through April 2021.

Five candidates filed for the election by the June 3 deadline:

• Gerald L. Brown,

• Marie Fontaine St. Pierre,

• Suzanne R. Harris,

• P. Francis Hartnett,

• Jason C. Millman.


Gerald Brown

Age: 65

Years lived in Smyrna: 5 years

Family: I’m married to Carlyne and we have four children, Kenya, Malik, Micah, and Annie. Also we have seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Education: I attended Richmond Hill High School and served in the United States Army during the Vietnam era as a military policeman.

Occupation: Retired from Consolidated Edison.

Leadership experience: Over my 36 years of service with Consolidated Edison, I have held several positions of increased responsibility and authority, both union and management capacity, such as meter reader, customer service representative, law investigator, specialist in electric underground services, senior specialist in customer operations financial and budgeting, emergency management involving various electric, gas and steam incidents during outages/storm events, senior instructor for environmental, health and safety at the company training facility and decon squad leader for the biological weapons response team. Currently, as a retiree, I conduct classes in emergency response, hazmat tech and incident command to both union and management personnel as needed.

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

A few of the main issues that I have heard and seen are taxes, economic development both commercial and residential, and the homeless population and drug epidemic.

Some of the ideas I would work on to address these issues would be two-fold by looking on the economic development to attract new commercial businesses that will help the town level off our tax burden, and by working with other local, state and federal partners to look at grants and other initiatives that would help with our town growth by creating open communication and transparency.

I would reach out to our churches and the various community-based organizations to work together on homelessness and families that are in need and work closely with our police department on ways to get additional grants to support the initiative that was in place to assist in our drug epidemic that has engrossed not only our town but every town both big and small.

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

I feel some of my strong suits are my ability to work with people on every level from my many years in the business sector and my volunteer work with the Special Olympics of New York and Delaware as a result of the fact I have a special needs child who requires compassion and understanding. I'm currently a member of the following town committees: Parks and Recreation, Utilities, and Public Safety.

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Marie Fontaine St. Pierre

Age: 35

Years lived in Smyrna: 4 years

Family: Married for 13 years and I have a 13-year-old son.

Education: I graduated from Seaford High School; Graduates of Delaware Technical Community College and Delaware School of Real Estate.

Occupation: I worked at the Blood Bank of Delmarva for two years as a certified phlebotomist. Now I am working as a full-time real estate agent at ERA Harrington Realty Inc.

Leadership experience: I am a member of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, Smyrna’s Economic Development Committee, and Board of Adjustment.

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

1. Make sure our children will want and be able to own a home here by:

a) Advocating to bring Smyrna more employment opportunities with business-friendly policies;

b) Creating a strong foundation for homeowners. A crucial step we need to take now is to provide them with information on do’s and do not’s in their neighborhoods by working with the council, builders, planning department and homeowner’s association.

2. Support updating the library with better technology and resources, creating new programs and expanding the selection of books.

3. Fight the drug epidemic in Smyrna by working with the council members, mayor and the state to help the people who are seeking guidance and the resources for a better life.

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

I have experience working with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and religions. I am a great listener. I have great communication skills. I’m very patient and work well on a team. Part of my mission is to make sure our children can get great jobs and own a home here. I believe in the benefits, growth, and wealth that businesses can bring to the town. I was born in Haiti I came to the United States as a child. I speak English, French, and Creole. But my roots are in Delaware and I’m happy to say Smyrna is my family’s home. The opportunities my family and I had in Delaware are life-changing. I want to create more opportunities for you and your family, as your councilwoman. So please, feel free to reach out and share what matters most to you and your family.

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Suzanne R. Harris

Age: 58

Years lived in Smyrna: 5 and 1/2 years.

Family: I am happily married to Jeffrey Harris. We have a blended family of six children. We have three grandchildren, William, 3, Kendell, 3, and Cayden, 1. I am most fortunate and blessed to be able to spend time with our grandchildren many days during the week. They are our joy.

Education: Diploma in word processing from Delaware Technical and Community College, 1986. Associate's degree in human services from Delaware Technical and Community College, 1987. Bachelor's degree in psychology from Delaware State College, now University, 1989. Member in Psi Chi National Honor Society for Psychology. Two years of graduate level classes in social work from Delaware State College, 1989-91.

Occupation: I am currently a house wife, home maker, grandchild supervisor – sounds funny but true.

In the past, for about 22 plus years, I worked for Child, Inc. and for Phoenix Behavioral Health as a parent aide, and later, as a home-based therapist. I worked with various agencies, the court, clients, maintained records and reports, and trained some incoming staff.

I have also worked at Claire's in the Dover Mall for a couple years. I was third-key, opened and closed the store, kept records, counted drawers, made bank runs, input and put up stock, pierced ears, and helped train new staff.

I was also a substitute teacher (K-12) for Capital School District for a couple years.

Leadership experience: I trained coworkers while working as a parent aide and home-based therapist. I also trained new staff at Claire's. I worked as a volunteer assistant art teacher at Kent Christian Academy for three years. I also helped set up and ran the daycare program at The Learning Center at Kent Christian Center for the first year as a volunteer. I am currently a part of the deaf ministry at the Pentecostals of Dover Delaware Church.

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

The three most pressing issues in Smyrna, Delaware, according to the citizens with whom I spoke are public safety, bringing businesses which can thrive to the area, and the Duck Creek Regional Library.

Public safety seems to be paramount to many of the citizens and to me as well. There have been issues with drug dealings in public and various other community based problems. I would make myself available to meet and listen to the concerns and suggestions by the community. I would encourage the community to become involved in programs such as community watch and encourage involvement of the police so the community knows where to go and what to do if they are aware of crimes or dangers in the community.

It is important for Smyrna to bring businesses to help this town survive and thrive in today's economy. I would encourage and work with the town council to develop plans that encourage and promote small business inside the town, and other businesses to the industrial parks.

The Duck Creek Regional Library has been an issue in town for a while. I would encourage participation and cooperation to improve the library and its facilities between the citizens, the library association, and the town council. I would also not promote excessive taxes to support the library as there are alternative methods to explore that would not cause hardships on the citizens of Smyrna.

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

I am good leader. I have worked as a social worker (public service) for many years. I know of many resources to help the citizens which I will represent. I take time to research before I make decisions and explore all options. I am not easily influenced by other people so I will work for what I believe and the citizens’ concerns despite opposition. I am easy to talk to, listen well, and will work hard for our beautiful little town.

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P. Francis Hartnett

Age: 59

Years lived in Smyrna: 59 years

Family: Married with three children and two grandchildren

Education: Graduated from Smyrna School District

Occupation: Petroleum manager, Southern States Smyrna-Clayton Cooperative

Leadership experience: I currently manage a mid-sized petroleum company. I was a manager of Safety and Health for a large communications tower company. Locally I went through the ranks of the Smyrna Fire Department. Over the last 42 years I have gone from a firefighter to lieutenant, assistant chief, to fire chief.

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

I feel we need to have managed growth, to support the schools and the infrastructure of the community, along with keeping the tax rates down for the local taxpayers.

I would like to have an efficient council that will support the seniors in our community and give them a senior tax break, and I would like a transparent local government to keep the citizens aware and involved in the town.

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

I am a lifetime resident of Smyrna, the same as my parents were. My father was a veteran and a life member/past commander of the American Legion and a charter member of the VFW post. My family has had a lifetime of supporting the citizens and veterans of our community. I have committed 42 years as a first responder, and understand what is necessary to support the needs of the local citizens through the emergency services. I have been a member of one of the local churches for over 50 years, a member of the Harmony Lodge for 27 years, all of which shows my devotion to the community that helps me respond to the concerns of the local citizens.

I am in touch with the General Assembly for the needs of the emergency responders.

My only request to the citizens of Smyrna: Exercise your right. Please vote in this election.

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Jason (Jay) Millman

Age: 42

Years lived in Smyrna: 15 years (Delaware born and raised).

Family: Currently single. I come from a large Catholic family with a total of eight siblings and 11 nieces and nephews and 10 great-nieces. Good core family values.

Education: Attended Delaware schools (both private and public) and graduated from University of Delaware.

Occupation: Currently working as assistant manager at Ronny's Garden World.

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

Lower utility rates – Taking a look at all expenses and third parties involved and reevaluating their need and importance while looking for alternatives can help reduce utility costs.

Beautification of the town – By focusing allotted resources on specific projects, working with local schools, environmental and youth organizations to clean up problem areas and creating incentives for homeowner and business owners, we can make Smyrna even more beautiful appealing than it already is.

Support of local law enforcement agencies – Working with local agencies to meet the needs of the town with more focused patrols in neighborhoods and during higher volume times such as weekends and holidays, supporting these agencies to insure they have the resources and training necessary to serve our current and growing population.

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

Working and living in the Town of Smyrna for 15 years, I have become a known figure in the town and have built strong relationships with both many residents and businesses. Volunteering with the American Heart Association for many years has given me the opportunity to navigate several committees and bring them together for a greater cause. These experiences have given me the leadership needed to stand up and fight for what is right. I have made this town my home and look forward to seeing it prosper and reach its full potential.