Ocean City Council News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – At the City Council meeting Monday evening, the Mayor and Council met to discuss a variety of issues.

A few of the issues included traffic regulations on Jacqueline Ave., second readings regarding leash laws and business licenses and two Ocean City Police Department general orders.

The following is a brief look at the issues:

 Leash Law Changes OK’d

Upon second reading, the council unanimously approved the ordinance change that will now allow dogs off their leashes in the specified area of the new dog park on 94th Street.  Currently, Chapter 6, Article II, which refers to the leash law in Ocean City, mandates that it is unlawful for dogs to “be in any public recreational area unless such dog is controlled by leash.” Basically, all dogs are required to be leashed when in public or recreational areas.

The new dog park on 94th Street will allow dogs to enjoy the area without the hindrance of a leash, permitting them to run free within the fenced in park. The ordinance calls for changes in the chapter that will allow for the leash-free enjoyment in the new park.

Dogs must be registered with the town before being allowed access to the park, assuring the safety of the dogs as the play freely in their new park.

 Traffic Regulations Set For White Marlin Open

The council voted unanimously to continue with the tradition of allowing 30 feet of parking along Jacqueline Ave. between 14th and 15th streets for the White Marlin Open.

The area, which will be from the fire hydrant south to the corner, will be reserved from Friday, Aug. 3, to Friday, Aug. 10.

The area will be cleared and maintained throughout the week with all safety regulations observed. The council explained that the reserved area would be used for promotional purposes for the White Marlin Open.

The council also said it had approved the regulation for the past five to six years and had never had any complications or complaints from nearby residents.

Police General Order Approved By Council

At Monday evening’s meeting, the council unanimously approved the Ocean City Police Department general order regarding the promotional process for non-exempt sworn ranks.

The goal of the order is to “establish fair and equitable means to assure upward movement in the organization from one rank classification to another.” A testing process and credit system, with credits awarded in the areas of education, military and seniority, will regulate the advancement from police officer first class to police corporal to police sergeant.

When the general order was discussed last week at the Police Commission meeting, Police Chief Bernadette DiPino explained three years of service will be required before becoming police officer first class with an additional two years required to be considered for promotion to police corporal.

General Order Needs Further Discussion

After hearing concerns from Councilman Jay Hancock over the Police Department general order regarding restricted duty status, the council unanimously agreed to send the order back to the Police Commission for further review.

The general order specifies the regulations and requirements for restricted duty status within the department. The order calls for a limited number of temporary restricted duty status positions to be available for sworn personnel with temporary serious medical conditions.

The goal is to allow for officers to perform administrative tasks as an alternative to taking leave. The restricted duty option applies to all sworn police personnel.

Hancock voiced concern over officers who are injured while off duty. The order allows for officers not injured in the line of duty to maintain restricted duty status positions. The problem is that the position could be taken if an officer injured in the line of duty needs a position.

“That person who has 20 to 23 years of service could be dismissed,” Hancock said.

Hancock also pointed out there were jobs, such as the crime analyst position, that officers could do in a restricted capacity.

“I think this general order needs further review,” Hancock said, receiving unanimous agreement from the council.

Business License Ordinance Approved

After several recent discussions and changes, the council has passed the ordinance regarding suspension and revocation of business licenses.

Former discussion of the ordinance centered on the selling of counterfeit items. Councilman Jay Hancock emphasized several times that he wanted the ordinance to provide stronger repercussions for businesses caught selling counterfeit items.

On first reading, the council made a few changes to strengthen the ordinance. With the changes, if the city manager decides upon preponderance of evidence that a violation has occurred, then he can suspend or revoke the license. Also, the appeal hearing will now occur within 72 hours instead of 30 days.

The council hopes that the ordinance will deter merchants from selling counterfeit items and provide for quicker repercussions for those who do.