Ocean City News in Brief

brief this week, the City Council elected to change the verbiage in its
ordinance dedicated to undomesticated animals, the Police Commission will move
forward with its random drug testing for cab drivers and the figurehead of the
town’s mounted unit is hoping to be ready for action this summer

Town To Drug Test All Cabbies

Part of the town’s new
ordinance that requires cab companies to have medallions in order to operate
also outlines the town’s right to drug test any cabbie who wishes to drive
within the town limits of Ocean City.

At Wednesday’s Police
Commission meeting, some of the specifics were hammered out, outlining when and
potentially where the random drug tests for seemingly all of the estimated 200
cabbies that work in Ocean City will take place.

“We promised to help
clean up the industry and we’d like to give random tests to everyone before the
summer ends to ensure that we are doing our part in keeping the industry
clean,” said Councilman Doug Cymek.

The town is close to an
agreement with a physician’s office that is located in Ocean City that will
administer the DOT-5 drug tests on a random selection basis beginning in the
upcoming weeks.

As per the town’s
ordinance, the city will pay for all the drug tests and has earmarked $12,000
in this budget for the tests. However, if a cab driver fails the first test,
and wants to appeal the revocation of their license, they would have to fit the
bill for any additional testing, as per Cymek.

As far as how the
drivers will be chosen, City Risk Manager Eric Lagstrom said that the city will
play no part in how the drivers are chosen, as he will submit the full list to
the so-called vendor or health care facility and said that they will randomly
select the drivers to be tested.

“The city will make the
calls and will notify all the cab company owners that it is their
responsibility to ensure that their drivers show up to the drug tests if they
are selected,” said Lagstrom. “Failure to show up for a drug test will be
considered an automatic failure.”

Failure of the drug
tests will result in immediate revocation of a driver’s cab license and would
be subject for appeal, but the city hasn’t been stated how long the revocation
for a failed drug test would last.

Undomesticated Animal Ordinance Gets Groomed

After a man and his
iguana, also known as Iguana Man, scared a few people on the Ocean City
Boardwalk after a recent pet walk on the boards, the council has tasked City
Solicitor Guy Ayres to revisit the verbiage in the town’s ordinance that allows
so-called undomesticated animals in Ocean City residences by permit only.

Ayres said that there is
nothing in the code which allows reptiles on the Boardwalk and noted that he
would be changing the ordinance, which will be brought to first reading at a
future meeting, to clean up the language so that both the public and police
officials know what is and isn’t allowed on the Boardwalk or the town’s

“We are clear of what
the ordinance says, but the public isn’t clear,” said Chief Bernadette DiPino.

Still, Councilman Joe
Hall voted against the motion and stayed true to his claims that the iguana was
far less scary or harmful than some dogs or even people on the Boardwalk.

“To me, by the standards
to which they determine what a domesticated animal is and what isn’t, an iguana
meets the standards of a domesticated animal”, said Hall.

“So does a horse,” said

Councilwoman Margaret
Pillas thought the issue was more perception than anything else and voted for
the measure despite not being wholeheartedly for the seclusion of the iguana to
his owner’s domicile.

“It is a reasonable
request,” said Pillas. “Is it fair? I don’t know about that, cause I used to
raise rabbits and those are probably considered undomesticated animals by this
[ordinance], but the public needs to have a clear idea of what’s allowed and
what isn’t.”

Mr. President May Sit Out Summer

Chief Bernadette DiPino
said this week that she is very excited for the mounted unit division this
summer, but she’s uncertain if the town’s most famous horse will be leading the

Mr. President, perhaps
the most recognizable horse in the town’s four-horse mounted unit division, has
been experiencing back problems and his status for the summer season is
uncertain, according to DiPino.

“We recently got a new
horse, after we had been training one horse and unfortunately had to send it
back as it was not being cooperative when someone was riding it,” said DiPino.
“We’ve had a lot of excitement and inquiry for officers to be involved with the
mounted unit, and we are looking to add at least two new riders.”

Officer Mike Levy, who
has most recently handled public affairs duties including press inquiries for
the OCPD, will reportedly be taking a much more active role in the mounted unit
this year, after the departure of Corporal Raymond Lind, who recently opted for
the city’s retirement incentive plan.

“Officer Levy is
fantastic on a horse and has been handling all of the training of our mounted
unit officers as well as working with some of the new horses,” said DiPino. “We
think he will do a fantastic job.”