Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

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After this week’s decision to fill the vacant post from within, all indications are the next city manager of Ocean City will be Hal Adkins, who has served as the town’s first and only public works director since 1989.

Once the City Council majority voted down a motion by Councilwoman Mary Knight to do a national search, indicating a will to promote a current department head instead, the fate of the city manager’s vacant post was essentially all but sealed. It’s Adkins’ job if he wants it, although a couple other department heads’ names have also been circulated.

Inside the city, it has been long assumed Adkins would be the next city manager. He is as knowledgeable, respected, informed and professional as they come, and he has a wealth of city experience on his side. He also seems to understand the unique political aspects that come with being the CEO of the city and has the integrity to deal with elected officials and other influences. However, it was never thought he would become city manager under these circumstances.

Adkins confirmed this week it has been a personal goal of his to be the city manager, but he figured it would be after former City Manager Dennis Dare opted for retirement in a few years. Adkins said on Wednesday there has been no official offer of the job, but word is he is the top choice among the council majority.

When considering tossing his name in the hat, he said, “I would want assurance that the citizens, business community and fulltime staff of the Town of Ocean City that I have served for the last 27-plus years were in support of me holding the position. If they were not, I will gladly continue my role as public works director and provide the levels of surface that our community has grown to expect.”

If he had his way, Councilman Joe Hall said Adkins would be the next city manager. He thinks Adkins could be just the type of leader the divided council needs at this time.

“If there’s one man in this town that can pull together the council and has the respect of all of them, it would be Hal Adkins,” Joe Hall said. “I think he has the ability to gather the council. I would vote for Hal today. That’s my personal opinion, and I would ask anyone else out there that agrees to let the council know he is the right guy for the town.”

There has been a lot of confusion of late as to who is actually up for re-election in Ocean City next October. News of this week’s recall petition only heightened those questions.

The answer is Council members Doug Cymek, Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Mary Knight. Although it’s still a year away, all preliminary indications are each will be running for re-election.

Cymek announced his intentions for a second term on Facebook on Wednesday and he said yesterday he is excited by the tremendous support he has received from the citizens.

When asked this week about her plans for next fall, Knight, first elected in 2006, could not say for certain, but the likelihood is she will be running.

Jim Hall has served since 1987 and he usually waits till near the filing deadline to make his intentions known, but I would be shocked if he didn’t seek to retain his seat, particularly since he is now steering the city in the new direction the majority desires.

Joe Hall, for his part, cautioned it was a little early to make a decision one way or the other, but that his intention is to seek another term next year.

In city election terms, it’s extremely early, but I hear there are many familiar names are considering throwing their hats in the political ring next year, all with goals to break up this current council majority. Some of the names circulating are former elected officials, but younger business owners new to politics are also reportedly weighing runs that they had previously said would be down the road further.

Consistent problems regarding power outages in Berlin are becoming troublesome. The issue for me here is consumers in Berlin have to pay more than surrounding areas and they also have to deal with inconsistent service. Higher rates and poor reliability are unacceptable and no way for a utility to operate. Officials say improvements are near, but in the meantime I must say it was terribly disturbing last Saturday to open my town electric bill during a power outage. That made the typical sticker shock a little harder to stomach.

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