OCEAN CITY – Pointing to the uncertain economic times as his primary motivation, one resort councilman is looking to temporarily abandon the town’s subcommittees in favor of the entire council hearing all matters.
The town currently utilizes a number of sub-committees including the Tourism Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission and Police Commission. Individual council members are appointed to serve on these committees, which typically meet monthly to discuss issues and hear proposals.
Although no binding votes are taken at these meetings, positions are established and the commissions’ positions are presented to the council one way or another.
Councilman Joe Hall, who has served on a variety of committee during his six-year council term from 2000-06, is lobbying his colleagues to support his belief that all decisions need to be made at the council level. Hall cited the Tourism Commission as an example.
“There you have the advertising already in the can and input from the entire council is critical. If we ever decide to make changes, there’s always comments like ‘it’s too late for that and you approved it in the original budget.’ Well, yes we approved it in the original budget, but final approval should come to the council,” he said. “In my six years on the council, that was problematic for the person that wasn’t on the committee.”
Hall said too many decisions have been made at the subcommittee level.
“I think it would be beneficial during these times to get a handle on how bad our budget is going to be affected by this economy that all discussions come to the council,” Hall said. “The final decisions are already being made at this committee level before it’s brought to the council. That’s not how it should be.”
Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (OCHMRA) Susan Jones, a member of the Tourism Commission, reserved a position on the proposal until she heard more details. The Tourism Commission currently includes Mayor Rick Meehan, Council members Mary Knight, Joe Mitrecic and Margaret Pillas, Ocean City Chamber Executive Director Melanie Pursel, EDC Director Dr. Leonard Berger State Tourism Board member Greg Shockley, Chamber President Todd Ferrante and OCHMRA President Jon Tremellen.
“I have not heard enough about the proposal to see what’s involved,” Jones said. “There’s always room for improvement. I am never opposed to analyzing the function of any committee. I am open to discussion and if we can do something to improve the way we operate and function I am open to it. We want to make sure everyone is involved in the process as much as possible.”