OCEAN CITY – Councilwoman Mary Knight has been a staunch supporter of the town’s advertising agency MGH since she was elected in 2006, but when she made a motion, reportedly on behalf of the Tourism Commission, to extend MGH’s contract for three years at Tuesday’s work session, she took the majority of the people in the room by surprise, including MGH President Andy Malis.
“At a recent Tourism Commission meeting, the stakeholders which include the Ocean City Hotel Motel Restaurant Association, the Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Committee, we voted unanimously to offer and extend MGH’s contract for three more years at the same fee while continuing to extend and grow our relationship with the business community,” said Knight. “I’d like to make that in the form of a motion because the current contract expires at the end of the year.”
However, some council members were quick to put the kibosh on Knight’s motion citing not enough information and being totally taken aback.
“I’m shocked at this motion because we’ve had no discussion about this at all, and now you want to just extend their contract by three years,” said Councilman Jim Hall. “This is over $300,000 we are talking about here for the next three years, and I want to talk about this more. I’m just caught off guard.” Knight said that the tourism commission’s decision was based off of success of the current campaign, which saw a significant rise in almost every category, the numbers generated throughout the business community as a direct result of the advertising, most notably the Rodney Saves promotions, and the success of Rodney the Lifeguard himself, who she says has become somewhat of an “icon.”
“It was a unanimous vote, and the biggest concern was that there would be a continued relationship with the business community,” said Knight.
Ironically, Malis was also taken a bit off guard as he said that although he is always in favor of extending a contract, especially the one here in Ocean City, he said that he is quite comfortable with a year-to-year contract.
“If the scope of work doesn’t change, then I would be fine with locking in at the same rate for three years, but I’m okay with a year-to-year contract because I believe that we have to prove ourselves every year, and I think we did that every year we’ve been here,” Malis said.