Resort Citizens Group Demands Answers From Council

OCEAN CITY — In the wake of City Manager Dennis Dare’s forced resignation, a local citizens group is mobilizing to fight the council majority that orchestrated it.

At Monday night’s Mayor and Council meeting, Joe Groves, president of the Delmarva Condo Managers Association (DCMA) who is currently serving as general manager of The Plaza building, will be speaking and representing the Citizens for the Preservation of OC, a group formed on Facebook that has more than 1,000 friends.

“Ocean City has become our national government — you are either on that side or this side,” said Groves, a former federal government employee who worked out of the White House and also worked to get now-Governor Martin O’Malley into office as Baltimore City’s mayor.

Since last week’s events at City Hall, Groves, a full-time Ocean City resident who owns a number of properties in town, said he has spoken with four council members privately, including Councilwoman Margaret Pillas, the only member of the council majority willing to meet with him.

According to Groves, who was joined by former DCMA President Bob Paroda in the 80-minute meeting, Pillas said Dare was asked to resign because he was not following the council majority’s orders, contradicting Council President Jim Hall’s public comments that Dare was removed for a “change in management direction.”

“I just wanted to get to the bottom of it as a citizen to try and understand what happened,” Groves said. “She said, ‘the reason we fired him was because for months we were asking him to get us information and we would ask his department heads to get it and they would not get it for us. That’s why we fired him.’”

During that meeting, Groves said Pillas reported the city has “62 applicants for the position”. However, City Hall confirmed not one application has been received.

Groves said he got involved as the spokesperson for the citizens group after reading Councilman Joe Hall’s comments after last Friday’s meeting to WAMU Coastal Connection host Bryan Russo, who was writing for ShoreBread.com.

“We have been very clear since we took power that we have an agenda, and this is a step in that agenda”, he said. “We are headed in a new direction in Ocean City.”

Groves said, “They don’t control the government. We control who we put there, and they have a rude awakening coming their way. They believe it will just blow away, but it’s not going away.”

Groves said the group has a structured plan of five or six objectives including tackling voter registration and educating voters.

“I’m going to speak at Monday’s meeting and I believe we will have about 200 people there,” he said. “My objective on Monday is to find out what the plan is. I’m not going to stand for someone to say ‘it’s a personnel issue’ or ‘we are working on that plan, it’s nobody’s business.’ ”

Groves also said he has requested the phone records of each council member because he believes there’s malfeasance among the council majority.

“I’m not afraid to speak out, nobody can take anything from me,” Groves said. “I believe in standing up for the right thing. Some of the people on my executive committee say they don’t want to be the spokesperson because they run businesses and won’t get what they need. They can’t take anything from me.”

On Monday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m., the citizens group will be meeting at the Clarion to discuss future plans. The public is encouraged to attend.

“I’m expecting 300 to 400 people to attend this meeting,” he said. “I’m going to invite the entire City Council to come. We want a positive message. Yes, we disagree with the firing of Dennis, but we understand he serves at the pleasure of the council. My argument is we are not going to get Dennis back, but this is ridiculous how they are operating. ”

17 comments on “Resort Citizens Group Demands Answers From Council

  1. The agreement I believe Linda is referring to is just city policy (city employees do serve a probationary period). The employment contract is a separate document. this document came to light at the Friday AM meeting.It oulines severance pay, etc. It appeared that the current council was not aware the document existed and reference to checking the city vault was made. Shouldn’t current and future council members be informed of any and all contractual agreements?

  2. Thanks to this new group. I think OC’s Council should be ashamed of themselves. Who operates this way? Who is the mastermind behind all of this? What is the purpose of firing Dare if we still have to pay him until April?

  3. Beverly, Dennis had an employment contract that was renewed annually that stipulates payment thru April. An employment contract that no one knew about but Dennis. And that employment contract has a “no cause” termination clause. Kudos to the Majority.

  4. I’m curious to know if Mr Groves and all these other concerned citizens are okay with Councilwoman Pillas’ statement that Dennis Dare failed to turn over information they had requested?
    That concerns me. When a council memember asks for information concerning city business they should be granted that request-shouldn’t they?

  5. let’s talk about the employment contract: how can a contract be renewed annually, if no one knew about it but Dennis ?? when was the last time this contract was presented to Council for renewal or discussion? anybody know ?

  6. The manner of removal of Dennis Dare by council members smacks of unethical conduct, violation of Dare’s civil rights, conspiracy and total disregard of standards of protocol and respect. Imagine, secret closed meetings, no public notice, no attorney, no reasons for dismissal, the list goes on….

  7. Priscilla
    “no reasons for dismissal”

    Quoted from the above article- “She said, ‘the reason we fired him was because for months we were asking him to get us information and we would ask his department heads to get it and they would not get it for us.”

  8. Jane’s comment makes me wonder if Mr Dare’s employment contract wasn’t something requested by council members that he never provided?

  9. Now that Dare and his highly paid salary is gone, let’s work on the other high salaries within OC government. A small part-time town should reflect small salaries.

  10. Dennis Dare was hired when a City manager quit after Tony Barrett left. The agreement with the council at that time was Dare would take city manager job provided if he wasn’t satisfied or the council wasn’t satisfied he could go back to his city engineer job.When it was decided he would keep the job,it was stated the council would review his job on a yearly basis.

  11. I have previously addressed the contemptible actions of the majority on the City Council, but after reading the posted comments to date I am embarrassed by the lack of comprehension some of these readers have in the workings of our local government. Note to Jane: Council President Jim Hall was serving on the council when Mr. Dare’s contract was drafted and signed.

  12. I wish everyone would get off this being “embarrased” stuff. Why should anyone ever be embarrased by something someone else does or says (unless it is your child?) If anyone feels “embarrased” by this them it’s probably something they should be telling to their shrink!
    At first I felt sorry for Mr Dare but then after reading he wasn’t turning over info, council had requested I’ve changed my mine. I think they are entitled to know anything and everything to do with the city in order to make informed and better decisions.

  13. Mr. Dare is just getting what he himself always dished out to employees. You know…the good ol boy system.

  14. Well Jane?

    Can you respond to the fact given that Jim Hall was on the council when Dare’s contract was approved? Shouldn’t he know about it? If they are ousting him because of a failure to provide information requested, why not quell the publics fear by stating such an easy reason?

    As far as the “good ole boy” thing…yeah the Halls don’t have any of that going on, huh?

    Puh-lease.

  15. Doesn’t anyone wonder what is the nature of importance to Joe Groves.Concerned citizen? Opportunist? Perhaps the loudest cryer had something to loose by Dennis’ removal.Is being a building manager a first step for entering politics? Something stinks!!The scoop is Dare was spending too much money, sometimes w/o authorization.Whos best interest was he serving? Mr. Groves probably knows.

  16. Mr Dare gave his life to public service and this city. It is a phenomenal responsibility to maintain the island, all of it’s infrastructure. He was railroaded by small minded people who see conspiracies where there are none. Did your taxes go up during the economic downturn? You can thank Mr. Dare for that.

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