Posted: Feb. 6, 2003


By Celia Cohen

Grapevine Political Writer

Talk about a royal sendoff. William L. Remington, the respected director of the Delaware Division of Revenue, is having one now.

Remington told colleagues this week that he would give up his post as the state's top tax collector at the end of the month to take about as exotic a job as a revenue man can get. He is joining the U.S. Treasury's Office of Technical Assistance, which advises other countries on tax, financial and budget policy. It will mean lots of overseas assignments.

As matters turned out, Remington's resignation coincided with a favorable account of Delaware's tax system in Governing magazine, a nonpartisan publication that printed a comprehensive review of all 50 states' revenue policy and collection methods in its February edition.

No state fared better than Delaware in the magazine's analysis, and no one leaped to mind more quickly as the reason for it than Bill Remington.

State Finance Secretary David W. Singleton, who is Remington's boss in the Gov. Ruth Ann Minner's Democratic administration, credited Remington and his division, as well as the Division of Corporations in the Department of State, for Delaware's performance.

"Nobody exactly loves paying taxes," Singleton said. "It's nice to see Revenue and State get the recognition. They're professional operations."

State Rep. Deborah D. Hudson, the Republican chairwoman of the Revenue & Finance Committee in the House of Representatives, also singled out Remington as a steadying presence who never lets politics interfere.

Remington has run the revenue operation for a decade, first as acting director in July 1993 and than as the director since 1994. Before that, he was the deputy director. Although he rarely talks about it, Remington also is a lawyer whose first job in Delaware was as a deputy attorney general when he arrived here from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 1977.

Remington is in demand throughout the country to speak about taxation, and he is a past president of the Federation of Tax Administrators.

The career change was somewhat unexpected. As someone who truly is committed to what he does, Remington recently spent vacation time with the U.S. Treasury Department on the sort of assignments he will be doing for a living. In October he went to the Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and in December he was in Sri Lanka, an island off the Indian coast.

"I liked it, and apparently they liked me," Remington said.

At 56, Remington is eligible to retire from the state government, so he decided to make his move. When he reports, his first assignment will be a return to the Ukraine. The Office of Technical Assistance typically sends advisers to Central and Eastern Europe and recently has worked in South Africa, Haiti and Indonesia, according to its Web site.

Not that Remington is cutting his Delaware ties. He intends to keep his house in Middletown, and he also has property in Bethany Beach. "I can still be a Delaware resident, still vote here," he said.

And pay taxes, too.