OC Police Commission’s Future Remains Uncertain

OCEAN CITY – The abolishment of most of the resort government’s sub-committees became official this week during the Mayor and City Council meeting.

Most of the amendments were finalized except for the final resting place of the police commission, which was once again remanded to discussion.

Earlier this month, Mayor Rick Meehan was able to persuade the majority of the council to have the police commission remain intact.

City Solicitor Guy Ayres did mention during that meeting that if the police commission was to be abolished the mayor would loose his vote. If the police commission were to remain and it be expanded to include the full Mayor and City Council, the mayor would continue to have a vote. Currently, the mayor and three council members sit on the commission.

The City Council decided to expand the police commission to include all seven council members and the mayor, meaning the police commission would remain a part of a municipal government.

This week the newly amended resolution to the police commission charter reached the council’s agenda in second reading. Council President Jim Hall brought the finalization of that amendment to a halt.

“This was an item that I voted for, but I would ask we table this,” Jim Hall said. “It was not what I understood I was voting on … and I would like to bring it back for discussion.”

Councilwoman Mary Knight, who supports keeping the police commission, motioned to accept the amendment and to continue the commission and expand its power to the entire council.

Councilman Doug Cymek asked the council president to discuss what he did not understand.

“I’m not prepared to discuss it tonight, the things I thought we were doing that night are not what I understood,” Jim Hall said.

Cymek explained that it expands the commission to include the Mayor and the entire City Council.

“I understand that, but it leaves the police commission in tow,” Jim Hall responded. “I understood with the exception of the mayor this was going to be treated the same as all the other commissions … I ask you to consider tabling this and let me think about this a little bit more and come back to this item.”

Knight withdrew her motion to vote and accept the amendment, knowing well enough that the motion would die due to the minority of the council being in favor of keeping the police commission.

The second reading of changing the Risk Management Committee’s membership to include the Mayor and City Council passed in a vote of 6-1, with Knight in opposition.

The amendment to Employees of Ocean City, Maryland Pension Plan and Trust and the Ocean City, Maryland Public Safety Employees Pension Plan and Trust also passed in second reading, to include the full Mayor and Council in a vote of 6-1, with Knight in opposition.

Another amendment, to remove the council liaison from the Beach Meditation Board was passed on first reading in a unanimous vote.

“I’m surprised you didn’t put all seven council members on it,” Meehan joked.