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Salisbury City Council Moves Forward With Replacing Terry Cohen

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The Salisbury City Council took the first steps last night to replace Terry Cohen who abruptly announced she was leaving the council due to personal obligations.

So, now, it will be up to the four remaining council members to choose a new member by early September.

Council President Jake Day said they would be receiving applications with a deadline of August 25th.

Shanie Shields who represents Council District 1 says she wants to add some younger blood to the council. “I want to see some younger people take the reins and get the energy like Jake. He’s young and has young ideas. And let them take the reins and move Salisbury into the Twenty-First Century and be inclusive to all people.”

Terry Cohen

Cohen was in her second term as a representative from Council District 2 and served as council president from 2011 through 2013.

She was a strong advocate for homeowners and constituents she called “the little guy.”

The council is set to deliberate and vote on her successor September 2nd.

Shields, who often found herself at odds with Cohen, believes she will not disappear from public affiars.

“After she gets over whatever concerns and tragedy in her family (she has), I think she may still be, if time permits, community active and we’ll hear from her. I’m not expecting her to be in the background. It would surprise me that she wouldn’t have a comment or come up for a public comment or something – especially (about) neighborhood concerns because she is a strong neighborhood advocate.”

The council is set to deliberate and vote on her successor September 2nd.


Credit Don Rush

Meanwhile, the council is also weighing a proposal to divide up the city council into five separate districts and had been expected to take that up before Cohen’s sudden departure.

Both Cohen and Council member Tim Spies strongly opposed the five district plan.  

Spies said, “When a city is broken up into such small bits for really no other reason than, I don’t know exactly what, ah, than race, we’ve seen that the vision becomes compacted to that single area. And, I think we have seen this in other cities as well. ‘It’s I want this, I want this, I want this for my neighborhood’, while not looking at the rest of the city as a whole.”   

But, it appears the three member majority favor the plan over one initially approved during Cohen’s tenure as president that would have shifted a seat on the council from District 2 to District 1 which is predominantly African American and would allow the city to match the city’s changing demographics.

(Tom Hunt contributed to this story)

Don Rush is the News Director at Delmarva Public Media. An award-winning journalist, Don reports major local issues of the day, from sea level rise, to urban development, to the changing demographics of Delmarva.