City Council Moves Ahead With Business Without Commissions

OCEAN CITY – A few weeks after the City Council voted 4-3 to dissolve all subcommittees, City Solicitor Guy Ayres explained on Tuesday what would have to be voted on to change a charter or ordinance to remove the Mayor and/or City Council members from them.

The six sub-committees that require changes to the charter and/or ordinances are the police commission, pension trustees, risk management, mediation board, traffic commission and the parking commission.

Ayres clarified that the commissions and boards that do not contain the position of the mayor or council will not need to be voted on for an ordinance change.

“My interpretation of the motion is that there is no intent to change those,” he said. “So really the concentration is on those commissions and boards that either the Mayor and/or City Council members are members of by the town charters or town code.”

The first item on the list was the police commission, which requires a charter and ordinance change.

“I would like to make a motion to direct Guy [Ayres] to draft a charter amendment to which we eliminate the police commission,” Councilman Joe Hall said. “And allow the business of the police department to be conducted by the full Mayor and Council and by the full view of the town.”

Councilwoman Margaret Pillas seconded Hall’s motion and it passed with a vote of 4-3 with Councilmen Doug Cymek and Lloyd Martin and Councilwoman Mary Knight in opposition.

Ayres moved down the list to the traffic and parking commissions.

“Those two commissions are set up in our code and they state that the police commission is the traffic commission and is the parking commission,” Ayres said, “so that would require a code change in addition to the charter change of the police commission.”

Joe Hall’s motion to do away with those commissions passed with a 4-3 vote, again with Cymek, Knight and Martin in opposition.

By ordinance, the pension trustees consist of the mayor, council president, city solicitor, general employee representative, public safety employee representative and three citizens from the community.

Joe Hall made the motion once again.

“I would like to make a motion that instead of taking off the mayor and council president, that we make an ordinance change to include the full council also on the pension trustees,” he said.

Pillas second Hall’s motion, but this time the vote was unanimous.

The risk management committee includes by ordinance a council member, city manager, city solicitor, a resident of Ocean City and the risk manager.

The committee is responsible for recommending to the Mayor and City Council employee and workplace regulations to improve safety, those matters to be insured and the settlement and/or defense of claims filed against the Mayor and City Council and its agents.

Setting the trend, Joe Hall motioned to include the full council in those discussions. The vote was unanimous.

The last sub-committee on the list to be discussed was the mediation board.

“They hear disputes between beach stand operators and beach franchise operators,” Ayres explained. “They also participate in the bidding process and make recommendations to the Mayor and Council in respect to changes in rules and regulations for the operators of the beach franchises.”

Martin stepped up and made a motion to allow one council member to remain on the board.

“It is a good board, they have done a great job in keeping the peace,” he said. “Right now, we’re hoping to have a lot more bidders on the franchises and I would like to see the board stay, whether we’re on it or not.”

Joe Hall quickly rebutted Martin’s motion.

“With all do respect, my vote would be to take the council member off and allow the board to do the work and then come before the full council,” he said.

Joe Hall’s motion won out in a 4-3 vote with himself, Brent Ashley, Pillas and Jim Hall in support.

There were a few items that were not on the list but Joe Hall wanted to discuss, starting with the Tri-County Council.

“That’s not something that I believe would be included,” he said. “The mayor is our representative on there and he interacts regionally…I think that committee should stay in.”

Joe Hall also commented on the Maryland Coastal Bays Foundation Board of Directors, which he had served on.

“I don’t believe a council member should be on that,” he said. “But if the mayor would appoint a citizen to represent the town on that board, that’s acceptable.”

The last item was the condition of the noise board, which did require an ordinance change because it required a council liaison. Joe Hall was quick to motion to remove the liaison from the noise board, but keep the board existent. Brent Ashley seconded Hall’s motion and it passed in a unanimous vote.

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