Q&A With OC Council Candidates
In an effort to brief Ocean City registered voters on the candidates and their viewpoints in advance of the election on Oct. 21, The Dispatch kicks off today the first of a three-part, question-and-answer series with the seven City Council candidates.
Question 1: Why are you seeking a seat on the Ocean City Council? Please list for our readers at least three reasons why you believe you would be an asset as an elected official.
Brent Ashley: I am a conservative. I would approach the budget from a conservative point of view. As a taxpayer, with a field of non-conservative representatives, I want to see a conservative council member. I do not believe in and would not tolerate any loose spending.
As a council member, I would institute informal "town hall" meetings. This would give the taxpayer a chance to voice their concerns in a setting less intimidating than the formal council meeting. I would also address the lack of continuity in the decision making process of the council.
In a minor but current situation, the vanity license plate program was presented to the full council by Nancy Howard. It was decided by the council to have further later discussions. As far as I can determine, by watching all telecast, it was never further discussed by the council but soon turned up as a contest on the Ocean City web site.
Doug Cymek: Since 1996, I have maintained a deep desire to become a council member and serve those of our town by helping to make it the greatest place to live, work and visit.
My 33 years experience as a successful small business owner, combined with 38 years of marriage and my participation on various boards and committees throughout the years, has provided me with unparalleled knowledge and experience over the new less experienced candidates.
I have assisted many in resolving conflicts and feel this along with my business background, will be helpful in analyzing complex issues and making tough decisions when called upon.
Jim Hall: I presently serve the residents of Ocean City and have done so proudly for 21 years. This is a long time and a lot of sacrifice, especially for my family.
Anyone who watches the televised meetings or attends regularly knows that I am a full participant and often lead with ideas and suggestions. I often propose legislation to carry the city forward with public safety issues, budgetary concerns and public works projects.
Residents and visitors are struggling with the high cost of everything. I can help by lowering taxes and cutting spending. The residents deserve to be happy and comfortable living in Ocean City and that continues to be my priority. Our strength is in our most valuable asset and that is our personnel, fire department, emergency services, police department, public works and general employees. These are the true and deserving people that help us to call Ocean City home.
Joe Hall: I believe every resident has an obligation to be a good neighbor. I find elected public service a fulfilling way to serve and better the lives of the people in my community.
The core reasons I’m a better asset. One, I run a family business that makes its lively hood in 100 days, but I must manage year-round bills. This takes excellent budgeting skills. Two, I have lived here longer than any other candidate. I’ve seen what works and doesn’t work for Ocean City. Bottom line 37 years’ experience being a resident. Three, solidly independent, nobody is going to sway me off what’s best for Ocean City.
Jay Hancock: 1. Experience: Four years on the council, plus 31 as an OC police officer, provide a strong background in local government.
2. Effectiveness: Sought pragmatic solutions, which achieve compromise and develop consensus much most can support.
3. Continuation: Completion of goals and projects in progress, e.g., comprehensive plan implementation legislation – including more green space, better setbacks, strategic infrastructure maintenance, well-planned development, enhanced government communication with the public.
4. Solutions: Finding answers to new challenges facing OC: fiscal restraints, energy efficiency and development, managing limited resources economically to maintain the quality of life expected by residents, property owners and visitors.
5. Commitment: I enjoy the job.
Mary Knight: I want to continue on the Ocean City Council to serve the families, the retirees on fixed incomes, the business owners and all of the taxpayers in Ocean City. We moved here 13 years ago to raise our daughter in a safe, clean, small town environment. She now attends college in Salisbury and wants to raise her future family on Edgewater Avenue. I am committed to insure Ocean City remains that same safe place so that this can happen for her and everyone that wants to reside here.
In my two years on the council, I know that I have worked hard for Ocean City by successfully meeting as many citizens as possible at numerous functions. I am always prepared for council business by conferring with department heads, commission chairs, business leaders, tourists and always being completely accessible to my constituents. I research other similar vacation spots and make sure that my vote is the best for Ocean City today but anticipating the future to eliminate past mistakes.
I helped spearhead the increase in advertising for tourism and the free events on the beach that kept our economic numbers well above those of other resorts. These tourism dollars keep the tax rate down and I will continue in my next term to strive to keep revenues up so we can maintain the same services and amenities we enjoy today. I will continue as a council member to work with the County Commissioners to preserve or increase grants received from the county to maintain and lower our tax rate. I will continue to bring my unique perspective, my business and marketing experience, and my preparation for every vote to my next term.
Sean Rox: 1. I have a powerful background in business and marketing. I can utilize my experience in Internet sales and advertising to promote Ocean City to a new generation of potential visitors. Growing up in the information age has allowed me to be comfortable using the latest technology that is essential to maintaining economic growth. My small business has been able to generate revenue for the town by promoting destination weddings in Ocean City. I’m poised to replicate that success at the government level.
2. I’ve spent four years overseas working in international resorts. I would like to see our diverse supplemental work force translate into the growth of international tourism. Ocean City is one of the finest family resorts on the planet and deserves to be represented accordingly.
3. I’m out in the community. I attend nearly every City Council meeting. I’ve been helping out with the youth basketball, baseball and flag football programs at Northside Park since 1994. I’m a member of the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department. My wife and I completed the Citizen’s Police Academy and are currently enrolled in Ocean City University. I spent seven years working in the Worcester County Public School System. I’m an election judge, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Association and the Parrotheads.