I was extremely pleased to see Cynthia (Cindy) Green of Sussex County earlier this month. She’s Republican and Sussex County, Delaware’s elected “Register of Wills.” We saw one another at a press conference, held in front of the Court House in Wilmington on July 10th, sponsored by “Citizens for Pro Business Delaware”, an advocacy group that is promoting transparency and reform in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Interestingly, Cindy Green is indirectly responsible for why I started covering Andre Bouchard, before the infamous TransPerfect case even began.
She is a lifelong Sussex Countian and resident of Greenwood, Delaware. Unlike most politicians, who from my perspective don’t keep their promises, Cindy Green has and does! After being elected in 2010 on a platform — promising to advocate for low taxes, keeping the government closer to the people and maintaining local control of the “Register of Wills” office, while bringing this important office into the 21st Century by computerizing the whole system, installing modern software, and upgrading the office to modern standards. Cindy Green has surely kept her promises!
She also fought at Legislative Hall in Dover against a bill advocated by Andre Bouchard to take over control of all three county offices which would have increased the Chancellor’s power, but would have decreased the efficiency and operation of estate settlements, creating another, unruly, state bureaucracy. Cindy fought against it and the bill didn’t pass. The fact that Bouchard was there, and actually lobbying, was yet another violation of the Delaware “Cannons”, designating judicial behavior, which I will address soon in this article.
One of the rubs that got my attention about Chancery was the absurd rule granting the Chancellor power to appoint the Chief Deputy of the “Register of Wills” office. It is traditional and indeed prudent for the Chancellor to receive recommendations from the Registrar (Cindy Green), and make the appointments accordingly.
Instead of honoring Cindy’s recommendation of someone who already worked in the office and was truly the most qualified for the job, Bouchard appointed one political, incompetent or unqualified person after another that compromised the efficiency of the office. I wrote my opinionated allegations of his misconduct directly to Bouchard and he wrote me back a letter attempting to defend himself by explaining that the law gave him unfettered rights to appoint whomever he wants, regardless of the qualifications.
This was my first experience with Bouchard’s suspect decisions, high tolerance for his own appearances of impropriety, and hubris that apparently prompts him to operate with impunity.
Later, Bouchard, in my opinion, violated “Cannon 4, Rule 4.1 Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates” — when he appeared before a political committee at Legislative Hall to lobby for the passage of a bill affecting the Register of Wills offices in an attempt to take them over. Cindy Green objected, but the power of the “good old boy’s club” prevailed and Bouchard lobbied away, directly violating ethical rules that govern a Judge’s conduct.
Canon 4 – “A judge should refrain from political activity inappropriate to the judge’s judicial office. Rule 4.1 Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates.”
Thankfully, Bouchard did not profit from his misconduct, his bill didn’t pass, and Cindy Green retained her leadership position.
Cindy Green agreed to speak with me on the record for this article and I was able to ask her about “The Citizens” movement for transparency and reform in the Chancery Court. She replied, “I support their activities 100%. What they are doing is much needed. The Chancery Court needs to be changed with clear transparency.”
I further asked her if the Chancellor should be removed from the process of appointing the Chief Deputy to her office. Cindy responded, “Yes. I was elected by the people to run that office. I know who the best employees are, what is needed and who should work on my team. I don’t need a political judge to tell me who should work in my office. It is absurd. Time for a change. Perhaps, ‘Citizens for Pro Business Delaware’ will get this law changed along with other needed changes,” she said. I further inquired if she would like to see Bouchard not reappointed or removed from office. Her response was calm and thoughtful, “Yes, he is not good for Delaware.”
Folks, I believe Cindy Green is a remarkable woman. She serves the people of Sussex County with dedication and resolve. She is what I call “GOOD PEOPLE”.
Indeed she did all of these things, despite legal and administrative difficulties brought on by Chancellor Bouchard. Having worked in family care, prior to running for office, Cindy is well aware of the trauma and stress that occurs when people die and the dire need for immediate access to wills and important estate records. In the not so distant past, the whole antiquated system of the “Register of Wills” office was done by hand and paper. Now, it is streamlined and efficient, serving the people as it should. All estate records are now being kept electronically, thanks to Cindy Green.
All of this happened because of Cindy and I cannot say enough about the courage of this kind, conservative, Christian woman who constantly and humbly works to improve her office and serve the people of Sussex County properly and efficiently. On behalf of all Delawareans who have benefited from your hard work, I thank you Cindy Green! You have clearly demonstrated your dedication to the smooth operation of your office!