OCEAN CITY – Councilman Doug Cymek took care of some business this week, filing for re-election almost a year in advance.
Cymek is the first of the four current council members up for election to make official his intention to seek another four-year term. The terms of Council President Jim Hall and Council members Joe Hall and Mary Knight expire next year as well. Mayor Rick Meehan’s term is also up next year.
“I just think it is good to let the voters know that I am running and give them the opportunity to observe me over this next year,” Cymek said.
One of his proudest moments he has had while being on council is being involved with the expansion of the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.
“I was one of the one’s that had the vision to expand out the back,” Cymek said. “On a foggy Sunday morning, I went up there and was drinking a coffee hanging over that back railing and I said ‘You know this is the answer, to blow this thing out the back’.”
On Monday, the Mayor and City Council voted to approve phase two of re-construction of the convention center, which will include a performing arts center, and Cymek was the one to set the motion.
“It was a thrill to make that motion and I was just so happy that we had a unanimous decision and that everybody went along with it,” he said. “I just think it’s going to do so much with the extension of the shoulder seasons here in Ocean City and bring a lot of people into town that we have never seen before.”
Cymek feels his most challenging times while on the council was when the council became divided on changing town employee pay and benefits and budgets involved with tourism. One of the infamous 4-3 votes that he still has trouble grasping was when the town spent a large amount money conducting background checks on future Ocean City police officers who were preparing to enter into the academy earlier this year, but because the council could not settle on newly hired town employee pay and benefits the process was put to a halt.
“It is just tough decisions to make,” he said. “It is a shame that we have this rivalry between the council. I have to say that all seven of us have the best interest of the town at heart but we always have a difference in opinions on how to get there.”
Cymek is thankful for the newly formed Citizens For Ocean City group because its members have confronted the council with their frustration over divided votes and have pushed the council back toward gaining a consensus before voting.
“That citizen group has really been a great thing for Ocean City because it has forced issues to a positive vote that I think otherwise wouldn’t have passed,” he said.
During Cymek’s time on the council, he said he been involved with some comprehensive issues, which he claims is an area he excels at. Since Cymek has been in office, he and his fellow council members have cut over $7 million from the town’s budget in order to save costs.
“One of the very things we began working on in my first week of office was we began working on the budget,” he said. “I will never forget, Dennis [former City Manager Dennis dare] began with the words ‘we need to start with the low hanging fruit’, and we started looking at making cuts here and there to date.”
Cymek said this time around his campaign will be no different from when he first ran in 1996.
“I enjoy talking to people and finding out what their positions are,” he said. “I’m not up there to throw my vote away. I tend to try to get a consensus from the people. I’m not always quick to make decisions. I do my investigating and I will sit up there and I am probably one of the quietest on the council but normally when I do I speak I have done my homework.”
Cymek was first elected to the Council in 2008. He has 35 years’ of experience as a small business owner and operates a general contracting and construction management firm and is also licensed by Maryland State Police as a Private Detective.