OCEAN CITY – Although signatures are currently being obtained, the recall petition effort in Ocean City is expected to be kicked into another gear after the first of the year.
Last Thursday The Dispatch spoke with Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Secretary Vance Row and received an update on the petition to amend the city charter to allow Ocean City voters to recall elected officials.
“This purpose of adding recall language to the Town of OC Charter will give the voters of Ocean City some recourse should they not like the way that their elected officials are conducting business,” Row said.
At least 20 percent of registered voters must sign the petition for the recall to be placed on the ballet next October.
If the referendum is passed and the public pursued to recall the mayor or a council member, 450 signatures of registered voters would currently be needed.
If the charter is amended and the required signatures are met to recall an elected official, he or she would have five days to step down or a special election would be held seeking a yes or no vote from voters. During the OC Rally held by the Citizens For Ocean City in September, Councilman Doug Cymek said in the near future he would present the council with a motion to change the charter to allow for the recall process to immediately become effective.
According to Row, the FOP has made appearances at Sunfest and the OC Rally to collect signatures.
“We are probably going to start going door to door once the holiday season has passed,” Row said. “I know a lot of people come and go during the holiday season so once that winds down we will start back up again.”
Row said signatures have been easily collected so far and a positive response has been received from signers.
“Most people have been more than receptive to signing it and think that it would be a good step forward,” he said. “I think we will get enough signatures judging by the response so far … I am hoping people will continue to be receptive as we move closer and that a year from now it will be on the ballot and people will vote for it.”
Last week Cymek said that as soon as the FOP accumulates the sufficient amount of signatures needed to amend the city’s charter he is ready to make the motion.
“The way I look at it is that charter change would impact me just as much as anyone else on the council,” he said. “If I am not doing my job, the voters should have a mechanism to remove me. I think it is very fair.”