Council’s Top Priority Must Be Strategic Plan

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With the election now over and all the bitterness and emotions that came before it a thing of the past, it’s time to focus on the present and future, and in Ocean City, that means the strategic planning initiative now takes center stage.

This is a process that will serve Ocean City well in the future and go a long way towards making the Mayor and Council a more professional body and ensuring the elected officials stay on a consistent track unswayable by personal differences of opinions and contrasting personalities.

The consultant and City Manager David Recor have conducted interviews with city department heads and members of the Mayor and Council, including Jim Hall and Joe Hall who were voted out of office this week. New council members Dennis Dare and Joe Mitrecic, as well as Councilman Doug Cymek, who was sick during interview sessions last month, will be questioned this month via video conference with the consultant. Their input will be added to the data collected previously from other city officials.

Recor said this week the process will not eliminate the thoughts of Jim Hall and Joe Hall just because they lost on Tuesday. He said, “Their feedback is still meaningful. There were common goals among the council. What we found was the council had really just not talked about how to achieve them together,” Recor said.

Based on council interviews, specific items Recor expects to see the initiative ultimately address includes, but not limited to, making Ocean City more family friendly; new revenue sources to reduce potential revenue gaps; changing the image of the Boardwalk after 10 p.m.; reducing Ocean City’s dependency on the sale of alcohol; and making the entire town more pedestrian-friendly. He said the finalized document should be completed by spring of 2013.

Once completed, the strategic plan will be laminated and maintain a high visibility before council members. It will be featured on the council dais before them at every meeting and each action item on the strategic plan will be evaluated and addressed in the council members’ weekly packets of information, detailing how their decisions will impact this goal or that vision and what a certain vote could mean for the selected initiatives deemed most important.

“It’s about results, drilling down action items and getting things done,” Recor said.

That sounds like a good plan to us, and we think it will ultimately result in an efficient and transparent government that will better serve the private and commercial segments of the community.

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