OC Planning Director Resigns, Citing ‘Personal Reasons’

OCEAN CITY – A little over a year and half after he started working with the Town of Ocean City, Planning and Community Development Director Matt Margotta has submitted his resignation to take effect at the end of August.

According to Ocean City Communications Manager Jessica Waters, Margotta submitted his resignation to City Manager David Recor over the weekend. Margotta reportedly told his staff on Monday of his planned intentions to leave the city.

“I am not aware of a specific reason, if any, that was given for the resignation, however; he will no longer be with us as of Aug. 29. We wish him nothing but the very best in all of his future endeavors,” Waters said Wednesday.

Margotta joined the Town of Ocean City in January of last year after the town conducted a national search, which resulted in dozens of qualified candidates. The position became vacant in September 2012, when 30-year Town of Ocean City employee and previous Planning and Community Development Director Jesse Houston retired.

Whether the town will conduct a subsequent national search versus hiring from within to fill Margotta’s position is undecided at this point, according to Waters.

“Our typical hiring process, especially for director positions, entails a large recruitment effort. I imagine the City Manager and Human Resources Director will work with the Mayor and City Council to decide what to do in regards to a replacement in the near future,” Waters said.

Margotta’s short tenure with the city has not been smooth and winds of controversy have surrounded him in recent months. Although they were not willing to go on record, several members of the local construction industry have not been shy in expressing concerns regarding the department’s leadership and handling of recent issues. Those issues were brought to the attention of City Manager David Recor, who is out of town reportedly taking continuing education courses this week, on several occasions and members of the Mayor and City Council were at least informally aware as well, according to reliable sources.

Additionally, knowledgeable sources at City Hall maintain alcohol concerns had also been addressed on at least one occasion. Although the city does not comment on private personnel matters, Margotta was recently suspended one week without pay for reportedly consuming alcohol during work hours and being at City Hall in some state of inebriation. Waters would not comment on whether that recent suspension had anything to do with his resignation last week.

“I’m not able to discuss personnel matters per our policy and it would be irresponsible of me to comment on any of that because I am not privy to much of that information as it is confidential,” Waters said.

The Dispatch contacted Margotta for a statement via email Wednesday morning.

“My only statement is that I’m resigning for personal reasons,” Margotta responded this afternoon.

The Planning and Community Development director position oversees all planning and zoning divisions.  The planning division, along with the Planning Commission, is responsible for preparing and maintaining the town’s Comprehensive Plan.  The Zoning Division, on the other hand, administers and enforces the town’s zoning regulations, including reviewing development plans for code compliance.

Margotta joined the town from Fort Pierce, Fla., where he held the position of Director of Planning since 2006 and worked under Recor. Margotta was previously Senior Planner for the Town of Bluffton and Hilton Head, S.C.

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