Administering and implementing Delaware's code of conduct for the executive branch.
The State Public Integrity Commission administers and implements Delaware’s ethics law (Code of Conduct) for the Executive Branch; its financial disclosure law for all three branches; and its lobbyists’ registration and expense reporting laws.
To aid those subject to the law in complying, the Commission issues advisory opinions on a case by case basis; publishes its opinion synopses annually; and offers training through the State Personnel Office’s Training Unit and by scheduling classes with agencies when requested. It also may act on sworn complaints which allege violations of the laws. Procedures for requesting advisory opinions or filing complaints are in the statute and the Commission’s rules.
Ms. Smith was appointed to the Public Integrity Commission on March 26, 2014. Her term expires on March 26, 2021.
Ms. Smith retired from Sussex County government in November 2013, after 44 years of dedicated service. During her employment, Ms. Smith worked her way up the career ladder from an entry level position to become the Director of Data Processing. Ms. Smith developed the computer software used by all County employees.
Ms. Smith received her Associates Degree from Delaware Technical & Community College in Georgetown and was a member of the school’s first graduating class. During the course of her career, she also received several training certificates from IBM.
Ms. Smith has previously served on the Delaware Technical and Community College Advisory Computer Information Systems Board. She has been involved in community activities such as the Lions Club and the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Company. She attended Chaplain Chapel and is now attending Union United Methodist Church of Bridgeville. Ms. Smith has become a Fund for Women Founder, a Delaware organization that raises funds for various charities throughout the State.
She currently resides with her husband Thomas and their dog Greedy in Bridgeville, Delaware.
William F. Tobin was appointed to complete a few months of the remaining term of former Chair, Barbara Green. Mr. Tobin was reappointed by the Governor in 2013 to serve his own 7-year term which expires in May 2020. He was elected Vice Chair, Policies & Procedures in 2012 and served in that role until he was elected Chairperson in 2014. After completing the maximum 3 year term as Chairperson, he was elected Vice Chair of Personnel in 2017.
Mr. Tobin has served many years in private sector positions, both for-profit and non-profit. His work has included managing budgets of more than $500,000, and other fiscal aspects such as inventory control, asset management and audit reviews. He is presently a credit manager and safety director for George Sherman Corporation, Lewes, Delaware. He also has an extensive background in sales, and trained and mentored new and existing sales staff.
His public sector experience ranges from 7 years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he developed extensive emergency management skills, to training fire company members on Small Boat Handling in conjunction with the Delaware State Marine Police.
He has long been an active member and officer of organizations in the fire and rescue areas, serving as Treasurer and Co-Chair of the Fire and Rescue Boat Committee, Memorial Fire Company; Sussex County Technical Rescue Team as the Finance and Budget Executive, and member of the Delaware State Fire Police and Indian River Fire Company; and Executive Administrator, assistant treasurer, finance Board member of Georgetown American Legion Post #8, Ambulance State #93.
Aside from his interest in fire and safety, he is active in his community as Treasurer, Lower Delaware Shield and Square; American Legion Post #5 member; St. John’s Masonic Lodge member; DE Consistory member, and Nur Temple member.
Commissioner Tobin resides in Harbeson, Sussex County, Delaware.
Mrs. Whetzel was confirmed as a Commissioner on June 15, 2016 for a seven-year term expiring in 2023. Mrs. Whetzel was elected Vice Chair of Policies & Procedures in 2016 and 2017.
Mrs. Whetzel has lived in Delaware since 1976. She graduated from Newark High School and earned a degree in Finance and Economics from the University of Delaware. After college she worked in financial services and was a Trust Officer with American Guaranty & Trust Company. In 1993 Mrs. Whetzel chose to stay at home with her two (now adult) children. She became active in their schools, the neighborhood, and the greater community through charitable and volunteer activities. Mrs. Whetzel is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for her family’s property management business, Thinking Eye Dog, LLC.
For over 25 years Mrs. Whetzel has been an active volunteer in the nonprofit sector, serving on the Ministry of Caring Guild Board (treasurer), the New Castle County Adopt-a-Family Board, and the Delaware Community Foundation Board. She recently completed a two-year term as Chair of the Fund for Women and has held other offices on the organization’s board since 2008. During her term as Chair the Fund increased its membership by 28% from 1,297 members to 1,660, the largest increase since the organization was founded in 1993.
In addition to the board activities, Mrs. Whetzel also volunteers for Kind to Kids and Child, Inc., serves as an advisor for the Delaware Community Foundation’s New Castle County Youth Philanthropy Board, and is on the steering committee for ERANow. She also represents the Fund for Women on the Delaware Grantmakers Association and is starting her 10th year as a mentor through Creative Mentoring at Shue-Medill Middle School.
Mrs. Whetzel and her husband Robert reside in Newark.
Mr. Gonser was confirmed to serve a seven-year term on the Commission in June 2011, with his term ending in June 2017. In 2012, he was elected to serve as Vice Chair, Personnel.
Mr. Gonser is a partner in the law firm of Gonser and Gonser in Wilmington. He is experienced in all aspects of Family Court matters from divorce, property division, custody and visitation, to paternity issues, guardianships and adoptions. He currently serves as Chair of the Family Law Section of the Bar Association and was Voted 2012 Top Family Law Attorney in Delaware Today.
For two years while working on his law degree at Widener University School of Law, he was on the school’s law journal, Delaware Corporate Law. After graduating cum laude in 2004, he clerked for the Honorable Jan Jurden, Delaware Superior Court. He also was a judicial extern in the U.S. District Court for the Honorable Sue L. Robinson. He is admitted to practice in all Delaware Courts, the U.S. District Court (Delaware), and the U.S. Supreme Court.
His undergraduate degree is in English from the University of Delaware, where he received the Division I Men’s Soccer Letterman’s Award.
Mr. Gonser is actively engaged in legal and non-legal activities. He is a volunteer attorney for the Legal Self-Help Center and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem for children in Delaware’s foster care system. He also is a member of the Delaware State Bar Association and the Melson-Arsht Inns of Court.
Mr. Gonser resides in Wilmington with his wife and five children.
Mrs. Lisa Lessner was confirmed as a Commissioner on June 16, 2010 for a seven year term, expiring in 2017.
For the past 16 years, Mrs. Lessner has actively worked as a community volunteer for various non-profits. She is currently a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware and also volunteers as a mentor for Creative Mentoring and in various capacities at Wilmington Friends School. Mrs. Lessner was a founder and board member of the Delaware Children’s Museum for 14 years. Volunteering more than 1,000 hours a year, she chaired its Marketing and Exhibits Committees. In 1997, she was elected Vice President, until elected President in 2004. She served in that role until February 2010.
Mrs. Lessner’s efforts for Delaware’s first children’s museum included extensive market research, writing an extensive business plan, attending conferences and networking with professionals in other States from children’s museums, securing start-up funds, hosting fund raising events, hiring professional exhibit designers and architects, creating an exhibit master plan, hiring an executive director, and securing $5 million in funds from the Riverfront Development Corporation for the museum’s land and building. Her efforts were rewarded when the Museum opened in April 2010 on time and on budget.
While undertaking those efforts, she also was a Board member of Albert Einstein Academy (2001-2007), and a Delaware Theatre Company Board member (2009-2010).
Mrs. Lessner’s business acumen began with a University of Delaware Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting. That was followed by an MBA in Health Care Administration from Widener University, Chester, Pennsylvania. After interning for IBM and Morgan Bank, she worked for the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in a variety of positions, including Budget Specialist, Budget Manager, Senior Associate for Clinical Effectiveness and Senior Associate to the Executive Director. Later, she used her skills as an independent consultant for the Clinical Care Associates, University of Pennsylvania Health System. Her consultant work encompassed being the temporary Chief Financial Officer, and working on special projects, including establishing financial and human resources policies and procedures.
Mrs. Lessner and her family reside in Wilmington, DE.
Mr. Anderson was confirmed for a seven-year appointment to the Commission on June 30, 2011. His term will expire on June 30, 2017.
Mr. Anderson, a principal at the law firm of Fish & Richardson, PC, leads and tries corporate and complex commercial cases in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Mr. Anderson handles technology-related cases that are brought to protect and defend the intellectual property of companies across several industry sectors such as Life Sciences, Computer Software, and Media and Entertainment. He has successfully represented clients in actions involving non-practicing entities (NPEs) regarding the fraudulent transfer of patents and breaches of covenants not to sue. He obtained a motion to dismiss a multi-forum shareholder derivative lawsuit that was based on his client’s substantial monetary settlement with the federal government recently, and in another case defended a preliminary injunction seeking to stop a technology company from filing a patent infringement action in federal court.
As the head of Fish & Richardson’s Corporate Governance and Chancery Litigation Practice, Mr. Anderson also represents corporations in high-profile cases involving mergers and acquisitions, stock appraisal, indemnification of officers and directors, demands for corporate records and misappropriation of trade secrets.
Mr. Anderson is the co-author of Technology Litigation in the Delaware Court of Chancery, a treatise that provides comprehensive analysis of technology-related claims such as breach of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of contract, unfair competition, civil conspiracy, and aiding and abetting. He is a thought leader on stock appraisal actions, and has authored articles that have been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Financial Times and Bloomberg. He frequently contributes to the “Chancery Daily” as a guest columnist and to Fish & Richardson’s commercial litigation blog.
Mr. Anderson is a member of the Delaware Bar Association, where he served as Assistant to the President and as member of the Executive Committee from 2010-2011. In October 2007, Mr. Anderson founded the Delaware Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, a service organization that strives to promote fairness and virtue founded on the rule of law. He has been named a “Delaware Rising Star” by Super Lawyers in multiple years.
Mr. Anderson received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, in Washington, D.C., where he was the Senior Editor for Law and Policy in International Business. After graduation, he clerked for the Honorable Kent A. Jordan, United States District Court for the District of Delaware.
Mr. Anderson resides in Hockessin, Delaware.
As an independent agency, the Commission appoints its own attorney. 29 Del . C . § 5809(12). Deborah J. Moreau was appointed in June 2013.
A Widener University School of Law graduate (cum laude), Ms. Moreau was a member of the Delaware Journal of Corporate Law. During law school she received two awards for her writing submissions. The Herman V. Belk Memorial Award was given in recognition of excellence in writing for an article written to gain admission to the law review in 2003. In 2004, she received the Donald E.Pease Best Student Article Award. Ms. Moreau’s award-winning article was published in the law review. (Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act: A Three Ring Circus – Three Circuits, Three Interpretations (Delaware Journal of Corporate Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2004)). During her third year of law school, Ms. Moreau worked at the Delaware Department of Justice and was provisionally admitted to the Delaware Bar under Delaware Supreme Court Rule 55. That admission allowed Ms. Moreau to prosecute misdemeanor cases in Family Court before graduating from law school.
Ms. Moreau was formally admitted to practice law in Delaware in 2004. She was also admitted to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Moreau continued her career at the Delaware Department of Justice as a Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Division. While Ms. Moreau was a prosecutor, she handled hundreds of cases, in a variety of courts. She has practiced in Family Court, the Court of Common Pleas and Superior Court. Her varied caseloads included crimes involving domestic violence, juveniles, sexual assaults, guns, drugs, property, robbery, burglary, and murder. Ms. Moreau’s work as a prosecutor allowed her to gain extensive trial experience.
Ms. Moreau resides in Smyrna, Delaware.