Thougths From The Publisher’s Desk

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Perhaps it comes with 27 years of experience, including a 14-year stint as council president and a 10-month term as city manager, but there’s no question Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan’s knowledge of town government is impressive.

Unlike what often happens during candidate interviews, Meehan spoke in specifics this week when he drove home his main points. He intentionally avoided rhetoric when addressing his major differences with the council majority.

Although the conversation touched on a number of topics, a common theme was Meehan’s belief that the last two years under the council majority has not been the time of fiscal savings and cuts, as has been put forward of late. He said the major cuts took place prior to the 2010 election and he gave specific examples.

“We eliminated our construction department in public works and found at that time because the cost to outsource was down it was better to bring in private contractors. We changed the way we did our trash collection and saved $1.6 million. We initiated a hiring freeze before anybody else did. We froze salaries. We offered retirement incentives, which were accepted by many senior employees, reducing our operating budget in not only that year but residual years,” Meehan said. “We reduced starting part-time salaries for some of our employees, eliminated night differential. We changed our take-home vehicle policies. We created the taxi medallion system. We made changes to health insurance, saving us $200,000 before this new council. We did these things, and a long list of other things, prior to the 2010 election. We were out front of the decline in the economy and way ahead of many other areas.”

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As if Berlin has not had its share of political theater of late, the town now finds itself in some new hot water after officials in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce have decided to relocate the venerable farmers market.

Although not all were interviewed this week, some of the more vocal market vendors oppose the move for a number of reasons, not the least of which is concerns their sales will fall off their current pace with the change in venue. That’s a major part of their beef, as is the fear pedestrian traffic will be reduced, but also is the fact they were not brought into the discussion until it was already made.

Last Friday, a letter from the chamber was disseminated at the market informing vendors Nov. 16 would be the final day in the old IGA parking lot at the corner of Main and West streets and that a new site will be offered at Stephen Decatur Park on Fridays and Henry Park on Wednesdays. The letter also announced a meeting will be held this morning at 8 a.m. to answer questions. Vendors are also planning to attend Monday’s Berlin Mayor and Council meeting to discuss the matter further.

The chances of any minds being changed are slim, but they will get a chance to at least express their views. My guess is this is going to be a change that will have to take place and then be weighed again down the line before the decision is reconsidered.

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It’s a topic nobody wants to talk about, but during the summer months fighting on the Boardwalk has become a major concern. Therefore, I was glad to see the State’s Attorney’s Office address it in court last week during a case involving a Delaware man, who along with his brother, attacked a man in a downtown restroom to the point the man lost consciousness.
“We don’t want to fill up our jail with young people, but the youth of this age group from Delaware likes to come down here and pick fights on the Boardwalk,” Deputy State’s Attorney Steve Rakow told the judge. “It’s been a common problem and we’d like to send a message that you can’t come down here and start fights and just walk away.”

2 comments on “Thougths From The Publisher’s Desk

  1. Steve, I do agree Rick is a professional salesman. He makes his living selling others investments. To sell something owned by someone else and make a living is not an easy task. Rick does very well repersenting his point of view. One thing he been selling is that a chunk of the savings was started in 2008 and 2009. What he doesn’t share is that a very effective minority side was pushing reforms forward. Margaret Pillas, Jim Hall and Myself were tireless in pushing belt tightening measures 2008,2009 and early in 2010. Give credit where credit is due. I was there and active. Also as for Dennis bringing forward cost cutting ideas. Dennis did so because he was told too and he knew first hand were the fat was is put it there. The issue isn’t Dennis brought forward the cuts. The issue is why did we have such a super sized local government in the first place. It’s a dependancy issue. Government sets it self up to have it’s citizens and businesses dependent on it as to support continued growth and tax revenue to feed itself. Mayor has said it best we use numbers to support our side. He one of the best at doing that. He can sell you a $750,000.00 dollars condo and make you feel it’s a bargain. He does not want you to sit down with your accountant before settlement. Numbers are good only if you do all your homework. I’d caution the voting tax paying to do all their homework before buying from Mayor Rick Meehan.

  2. It was a great Sunday of Football until I read this spewing MEow. Joe = game OVER man….GAME OVER! Doesn’t really matter “who” is a good salesman. No one wants to read about how one can sell a $750K condo (really – why are there $750K condos in OC anyway? Never mind, no need to answer that) when your gov’t workers have been wondering whats NEXT with the Fantastic 4. No wonder they want to unionize. The real owners (not us registered ~7500) want to know when our City will stop the bleeding with excessive TAXES.

    The “restaurant weeks” that take place – please, smoke and mirrors with the free sherbert given. I don’t have any answers – thats why I VOTE because those that are voted in should have MY best interest…not a majority.

    Gov’t is suppose to be about the people…FOR the people, not special interests and petty behind the scenes sandbox politics. I mean really – this coming June 2013 is going to be a mess for our City. But most of you will NOT be around!

    Very Angry on an otherwise nice and beautiful Sunday in MY OCEAN CITY! ~BUSHMAN!~

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