Making Democracy Work

Sussex County, Municipal Government, and Public Schools

How our county, towns and schools are governed

The County Seal

Elected Officials

The Delaware General Assembly granted Sussex County home rule in the early 1970s, converting the old Levy Court into the current Sussex County Council comprised of five members elected in and for specific geographic districts for four years. This forms the legislative authority of the county, which appoints a "County Administrator" who oversees the executive branch departments.

Information on the current council may be found here.

The Council has adopted rules of procedure for its meetings. They are described in an article by Ron MacArthur, published in the Cape Gazette that you can access here. Council meetings are broadcast on the Internet. Access them here.

The County retains traditional "Row Offices." Currently those offices are: the Clerk of the Peace, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, and Sheriff. They are all elected at large.

Executive Branch

The County Administrator, appointed by County Council, manages all the County government's departments and is, by Delaware statute, the chief administrative officer of the county. The Administrator, who was appointed as of January 1, 2012, is Todd F. Lawson (seen here), a Sussex County native who had been working in Washington, DC.

Among other responsibilities, the County Administrator attends meetings of the County Council, prepares and submits an annual budget, and carries out the policies and laws set forth by the County Council. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the government, which now serves more than 197,000 residents, as well as millions of tourists, vacationers and guests every year.

Boards & Commissions

The County has several appointed boards & commissions:

The Planning & Zoning Commission and the Board of Adjustment play particularly important roles in administering county land use ordinances. Click on their listing above to see a description of their functions.

Local Governments

There are 25 incorporated local governments in Sussex County, each with its own local mayor and council or commission:

Municipal elections are held at varying times throughout the year. See when municipal elections are held.

Public Schools

Sussex County is served by eight public school districts, each with its own elected school board:

The county also has one charter school, the Sussex Academy of Arts & Sciences.


The Sussex County Department of Libraries supports 14 public libraries and a bookmobile. Greenwood, Milton, South Coastal located in Bethany Beach, and the Bookmobile are operated by the county. The others are independent but receive operational and some financial support from the county. They are located in:

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