Ocean City News In Brief

OCEAN CITY – In the brief this week, the cops union finalizes its gracious agreement with the town, and a new advertising medium “makes nice” with the Mayor and Council.

FOP Signs Off On “Partnership of Trust”

Ocean City’s Fraternal Order of Police made it official this week, signing an agreement to forgo three of the biggest ticket items in their collective bargaining agreement and in the process saved the town almost $335,000.

At the request of the town’s elected officials and City Manager Dennis Dare, the FOP announced in February that its members would forgo their annual 3 percent COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment), STEP increases and their differential pay as a way to help the city get through these dire economic times, doing their part to help with the troublesome budget.

Mayor Rick Meehan and FOP President Glen McIntyre officially signed what the mayor called a “partnership of trust” at Monday night’s Council meeting at City Hall.

“We asked them to forgo some of the items in their collective bargaining agreement, and that was a significant request”, said Meehan. “We also told them we were prepared to honor the bargaining agreement, because they didn’t really have to sign this, but we really do appreciate what (the FOP) has done for the town of Ocean City by signing this.”

McIntyre was extremely cavalier in accepting the mayor’s gratitude, expressing his thanks to the citizens of Ocean City.

“Several years ago, when we were beating the streets and talking about collective bargaining and why we needed it, we made a lot of promises, and talked about bargaining in good faith,” said McIntyre. “We thought this was the first opportunity we’ve had where we found that we were in a position to show that we meant what we said.”

McIntyre told The Dispatch back in February when the decision was announced that some of the hardest hit in the force based on this decision were some of the younger officers who are now essentially unable to move forward in their careers temporarily.

McIntyre said that some officers, depending on their base salary, could lose as much as $5,000 in annual increases.

Still, McIntyre said that the force, which is close to 120 people, including retirees, was unified in making this decision.

“A lot of emotions came out and everyone wore their heart on their sleeve with this, but we agreed that this was the right thing to do,” said McIntyre. “Lord only knows where we are going with the economy, and we know everyone is feeling the pinch, but it’s our pleasure to do our part to help.”

New Ad Vessel Sets Sail This Summer

With technology growing at rapid rates, and a vast majority of Americans accustomed to viewing their entertainment and their information in crystal clear high definition picture, it seems that it was only a matter of time before someone came up with the idea of putting LED screens onto a boat, driving it up and down the coastline and advertising its clients to the millions of tourists frolicking on the town’s beaches each summer.

With that said, it was not surprising to hear that Seaboard Media LLC, was planning on doing just that, but it was a bit of a surprise to see how the proprietors “made nice” with the City Council in efforts to bring them on board with their new venture, offering to donate space on two huge LED screens to display the town’s public service announcements (PSAs) and vital messages throughout the day.

“I know this medium will be an effective way for our advertisers to promote their businesses,” said Seaboard Media proprietor Jake Robinson, “but I also want to make sure that it provides a valuable service to the community at large.”

Robinson said that his custom-built vessel is essentially a “technological upgrade on the marine advertising of the past in Ocean City”, and hoped to display some of the town’s PSA’s like the Surfrider Foundation’s “Please Leave Only Your Footprints” and notify beach-goers of concerning surf conditions with “riptide advisories.”

Robinson, a lifetime Ocean City resident and former neighbor of the mayor, said that ads will run in a loop in either six- or 12-second increments and stressed there will be no audio coming from the vessel itself.

“What’s really good about this, is it’s strictly going to be the sign itself, only daytime hours, and it will be for the ocean only,” said Meehan, who noted that in the past, some ad vessels parked in front of bayfront restaurants to advertise other businesses.

Robinson told the council, even though his company might be open to ideas of doing a few “night runs” that would be viewable to those on the Boardwalk, cruising the bay wasn’t in the business plan.

“It looks like a great program and your vessel looks great, but the one thing I would hope is that we keep the fun things, and keep a very positive message when we choose which PSA’s to run,” said Councilwoman Mary Knight.