By Lynn Schofer

The city of Seaford will go to the polls on Saturday, April 20 to elect a new mayor after David Genshaw announced earlier this year that he will not seek re-election. Genshaw was acting mayor beginning the winter 2012 and in 2014 he was elected.

“I did not do a good job campaigning and when the counts came in, I knew I had lost and I would shake hands and walk out,” Genshaw said. “I got elected.” 

Genshaw knew he had much work to do inside the halls of the city building and in the community, “Once I got a feel for what is going on, I saw an opportunity to use my experience of over 20 years of sales to grow business and bring customers to Seaford. To attack economic development we needed to be aggressive.”


Genshaw said his work experience prepared him. “I call on every business on the Eastern Shore. My job is to grow business,” he said.

The town was feeling the negative impact of the post DuPont era and Genshaw said of the challenge, “to change an attitude from being a DuPont town to let’s get aggressive and do what we can do to grow. We had to let DuPont go.” 

Genshaw said Seaford relied on one large corporation for their economic health. “In sales you can land a big fish and in one year lose that fish and everything is gone or you can add 10-30 small fish, losing one is not a hardship.” 

Genshaw remarked that the leadership was different in 2014 but people changed over time. “There was a sense of urgency that we had to do something different for the future. We were not getting needed results, downtown was vacant.” 

Today, Genshaw said the staff is one of the best and all are committed to economic growth and the future of Seaford, “We needed culture and attitude change and be about the people. It took time to change and today every department is part of the economic development team.” 

Genshaw said he understands that people are resistant of change. “I was not sure I was doing it right either and we made some tough decisions. Whatever vision or what we hoped for in the future, you want to be able to look back and say we feel accomplished.”

Genshaw said the decision to serve was something he felt within himself, “I came at this probably differently than some people, some have a gut feeling, I had a sense that I was supposed to run for office.”  

In his 12 years of service the city has not raised property taxes and Genshaw said it was important. “Keeping taxes and fees flat or as low as possible to help attract, grow, and retain business and homeowners,” he said. 

In all aspects of his tenure Genshaw said he wanted the public to be knowledgeable of the choice and decisions, “I am not on Facebook but Facebook posts can be full of negative and wrong information.” 

The city, led by Trisha Newcomer, instead utilized their own web page and a video that provides information on what is going on in the city. Additionally, an IT position was created. “We saw the need that people needed to know what is going on.”  The website is full of information on the progress and news of the city. 

One recent interest has been the Western Sussex Business Park (WSBP). “I have heard and understand people are confused. The process has been in motion for over three years,” said Genshaw. The KRM company is a management company and WSBP will be filled with businesses.

“The field was empty and we knew we could grow business there. It was undeveloped and difficult and Mike Vincent and I had a conversation and the county and city partnered to do it together. I have been fortunate to have a good relationship with both governors and been a great help to Seaford. That park is going to be over the top, they will landscape, they built a warehouse, will lease out the spaces for businesses. KRM has money on the line and they are going to go out and do business,” Genshaw said.

Genshaw said he is proud of the future of the business park. “In Sussex County if you have a business and need large square feet and this will be first class. Infrastructure takes time but this is three years and actually moving quickly,” said Genshaw.

Another project that Genshaw was committed to was the development of the Nylon Capital Shopping Center, “We had to change the culture here enough to take something like that on. It was hard for locals, as much as you went to Woolworths growing up, we knew it was not coming back. There was an enormous amount of meetings and so many people were involved including Mike Vincent, the governor, and eventually Rob Herrera of 9th Street Development who is a visionary and successful in his other investments in Wilmington.”

Genshaw said Seaford will win in the long run by creating revenue as well as people moving to the area and will begin to see the change from a depressed piece of property to a return on the investment. Genshaw said, “The desolation has been a constant reminder of the past and people are struggling to believe it is happening because they want it to happen quickly.” Herrera attended city council meetings with development updates and plans to return as the development progresses. The website is and all are encouraged to contact Herrera with questions or suggestions.  

Genshaw said of Seaford, “This is everyone’s town and we represent the people and hope people are beginning to see that trying new things is okay and there are good people working for the people. Genshaw said when Charles Anderson came on as city manager and Chief Marshall Craft came to Seaford the feeling of change was palpable. “Everyone became excited because you could feel the change,” he said.

Genshaw said the first planning session led by Anderson allowed for ideas and suggestions which have paved the way for the future of the city. “There are some good foundational building blocks in place and in the next 5-10 years it will be completely different,” said Genshaw.

“We have taken on a lot of big and small things. Closing the 911 center was a big deal and although it needed to be done because the taxpayers were paying for both centers, it turned political and fake and untruthful.” Genshaw explained that council members all were troubled knowing that hard working good people would lose their employment, “We all visited the Sussex County center and spoke in the van and agreed to be unified on the decision. We knew we would need a ton of money invested to keep the center and the county could absorb us. A person flipped after that conversation and it just put many people in a bad position. It was a horrible moment.” Genshaw recalled the meeting at the fire department and although unable to name the person said, “One person stood up and spoke up and made a lot of sense. It has all worked out very well.” Genshaw said the mayor of Salisbury Jake Day contacted him and informed him of several openings in Wicomico County. “Those were good people and you lose sleep over it,” he added.

Genshaw said teamwork with employees and department leaders is what has made the future of Seaford. “There was a calling to serve and there is a calling to step away and hand the reins to someone new. No one individual does anything alone and it takes a team and things don’t happen by yourself,” Genshaw said. 

Genshaw said he is not easily pushed around, “I am in sales and I get yelled at regularly, I have thick skin.” He said he believes he stood true to his convictions and took the right stand on moral issues. “When we talk about the dignity ordinance, it was the right thing to do,” said Genshaw. “No money was spent and a group of people paid for everything and it did not cost the taxpayers any money. It was exhausting and hard on our families. We said a hundred times it had nothing to do with a woman’s right to abortion and it is a shame that your state had to sue you behind something that was all about dignity. That is politics.” Genshaw remarked that the governor and he remained friends throughout. The governor continued to support Seaford. 

Genshaw spoke of another hot topic, the cattle gate of Belle Ayre and Woodside Manor. “No one goes down a lane without city solicitor Dan Griffith reviewing it and giving us permission to proceed. The gate has made a difference and speeding has stopped,” he said.

Genshaw compared the gate to speed bumps in the city, “I hate them but I still go there every morning and it has slowed people down. I hate all the stop signs put up everywhere but decisions are made on safety. The gate is making people safe,” he said. Genshaw said the city has intentions to improve the gate. 

Genshaw is appreciative of public comments and wants people to discuss their concerns or support, “Many people do not pay attention and I would say please come to meetings, speak during public comment, reach out to us.”

Genshaw said the future is bright for Seaford after being kicked and pushed down for many years. “We needed some wins and the pride brought back and believe having good relationships with leaders like Danny Short, Mike Vincent, and the governor have been vitally important,” Genshaw said. 

Genshaw said his predecessor will learn, “Relationships are an important part of the position, but you cannot please everybody and this is not a popularity contest.” 

Genshaw said the job is stressful, exhausting, but a blessing. “I feel blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to do this and I am grateful. I met so many fabulous people. The part I love is working behind the scenes to make change happen. I love being a part of what made it happen and relationships built,” he said.