OCEAN CITY — Former City Manager Dennis Dare will hold a press conference on Monday at City Hall to discuss Ocean City’s future, including what is expected to be an announcement of his intentions to seek a council seat.
So far, incumbents Doug Cymek and Mary Knight have filed to retain their seats and are being challenged by hopefuls Robert Baker, Sean Rox, John Franklin Adkins and Joe Mitrecic, a former two-term councilman.
Although they have not filed yet, incumbents Jim Hall and Joe Hall are expected to file before the October deadline.
On the mayor’s side, Mayor Rick Meehan will be running for re-election and is being challenged by former council candidate Nicholas Campagnoli.
It has long been expected that Dare would be seeking one of the four open City Council seats in the November election, but as of today he has not filed.
In a controversial 4-3 vote last September, Dare was removed from office with an ultimatum from the council majority made up of Brent Ashley, Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Margaret Pillas. He was given 24 hours to retire from the post he held for 21 years or he would be terminated. Dare, who was the city engineer for eight years previous, eventually decided to retire with stipulations to be outlined in a rather unconventional retirement agreement.
Although a change in management direction was cited publicly, members of the council majority have made it clear they will air out their specific grievances against Dare if and when he files for elected office, despite the fact his severance agreement states his resignation was demanded due to the council majority’s “desire to change management direction and not as a result of any allegation or suggestion of wrong-doing …”
As part of that severance agreement, Dare received his full salary and benefits from September 2011 through March of 2012. He remains on the payroll through Oct. 31, 2012 by virtue of being paid his accrued vacation pay. As of Nov. 1, Dare officially retires and receives all the benefits given to a 30-year employee.
In December of last year, in his first public comments after his dismissal in September, Dare acknowledged he had been approached by citizens to consider a council run.
“I have had people mention that. I had not made plans to retire. I didn’t see anything coming to this magnitude so I’m just trying to get life in order and I don’t have any plans to look for other work. I like being retired at this time and I just don’t know what the future holds,” Dare said last December.
A press release distributed widely yesterday read, “Mr. Dare will discuss future efforts to bring back to City Hall the integrity, respect, dignity and pride that the residents, businesses, employees and visitors of Ocean City deserve.”