Council Closing In On Finalizing Dare Particulars

OCEAN CITY – Without announcing what the specific holdup concerning former Dennis Dare’s retirement actually is, City Council members publically debated how it should be resolved.

The discussion was brought up after Councilman Doug Cymek received a couple requests from members of the newly formed Citizens For Ocean City inquiring the status of former City Manager Dennis Dare’s retirement agreement.

“It was troubling for me to tell them that we have not signed that agreement,” Cymek said. “It has almost been nine weeks since his departure.”

Back in early September, the council in closed session voted 4-3, with Council members Brent Ashley, Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Margaret Pillas in favor, to ask for Dare’s resignation. They later voted in the same 4-3 fashion to terminate Dare if he chose not to resign.

Dare’s retirement agreement offered a severance package that included salary through Dec. 31, his full 30-year retirement and all the required health and pension benefits.

Without going into detail, Cymek said on Oct. 11 in closed session the council voted “some things” forward in reference to Dare’s retirement agreement by unanimous vote.

“I don’t want to go into details but I would like to progress this and finally put it to rest,” Cymek said.

Council President Jim Hall responded that City Solicitor Guy Ayres, who was absent during this week’s discussion, has written the agreement but there is still blanks left to be filled in.

“I don’t mind saying that when you look at pay and pensions, health benefits, family benefits … and the tax ramifications of leave early it’s not just as simple as ‘hey here’s the amount of money see you later’,” Jim Hall said.

Jim Hall agreed that the council had voted on Oct. 11 to move Dare’s retirement agreement forward but it was left open with further decisions to be made. He added that Ayres has been negotiating the contract as late as Monday, as well as there are continuous questions being forwarded to Human Resources Director Wayne Evans.

“We are getting very close and probably within a week or two it will be finalized,” he said.

Cymek asserted a simple vote would resolve the outstanding issue.

Jim Hall explained the issue is discussed on a daily basis between himself, Ayres and Dare’s attorney and accountant.

“It is not as simple as just stamping this,” he said. “We want everybody to be whole and we want everybody to be happy when the deal is done, and I promise you in two weeks it will be done”

Cymek then requested the issue be scheduled for next week’s work session to be further discussed in order to have the matter become transparent.

Jim Hall said Ayres’ last instructions to him before he left was that the retirement agreement needed to be voted on again in order to fill in the blanks.

“The cost related to dealing with that decision one way as opposed to the other way is just going to be astronomical … I think that it is something that can be resolved very quickly and I ask you to put this on the next work session,” Cymek said.

A resolution reportedly needs to be made on whether Dare is to leave as an employee or a retiree. The two options the city face is by either buying him out through an annuity, which is by far the more expensive choice, or continue to pay him through the payroll until October 31, 2012, at which date Dare’s 30 years of employment would have been completed.

“They have not thought this thing through,” Cymek said. “They are now perplexed on how to present this to the public … this is all going to get out.”