Council Narrows City Manager Field

OCEAN CITY – Ocean City has narrowed the field of candidates to fill Ocean City’s vacant city manager post and expects to have the seat filled no later than May.

In separate phone interviews Wednesday, Mayor and Interim City Manager Rick Meehan and Human Resources Director Wayne Evans confirmed the process to hire a new city manager is on track and reaching its final stages.

During a closed meeting at City Hall on Monday, the Mayor and City Council met with John Anzivino, Senior Vice President of Springsted Inc. who was hired to conduct the search. During the meeting, Anzivino presented the council with a list of 10 final candidates, which stemmed from a nationwide search. Evans explained that prior to the meeting Springsted worked its way through 60 applicants to reach the finalists.

“They presented us with 10 possible candidates, who all were very good,” Meehan said. “We had a lot of discussion about it and we have narrowed it down to five or six that we are going to have interviews with. We are very much on schedule so I think we accomplished a lot … we hope to move forward as expeditiously as possible.”

During Monday’s meeting, Springsted reviewed the selection process and the upcoming interview process. The meeting concluded with the council selecting five final candidates that will be scheduled for interviews most likely during the week of March 19-23.

“The consultant is in the process of contacting those people to arrange for interviews,” Evans said.

Following the interview process of the chosen candidates, the Mayor and City Council will then select two or three finalists followed by a second round of interviews, which will occur around late March. Evans said a city manager should be selected by the second week in April if everything goes according to plan.

“If we have a satisfactory outcome, we should have somebody early- to mid-May,” Evans said in order to give the new city manager some leeway in transitioning to Ocean City.

Meehan said that the pool of candidates derives from a large geographical area. When asked if there were any current city employees in the final group of candidates, Meehan said there were no internal employees represented.

“I think it is exciting,” he said about approaching the final stages of the selection process. “I am certainly not happy we are in this position but it what it is and now we have to move forward. We did get some excellent resumes and at this point it is exciting and we are looking forward to making a decision. I have been in this position now for about six months and it has become part of my routine … but I am looking forward to bringing someone else in and helping them with the transition.”

The resort’s city manager search follows the forced resignation of former City Manager Dennis Dare. On Sept. 8, 2011, the Mayor and City Council met in closed session “to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, removal or resignation of appointees, employees or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; or any other personnel matter that affects one or more specific individuals.”

By the next day, the council announced that it had voted 4-3 with Joe Hall, Brent Ashley, Jim Hall and Margaret Pillas in favor of asking for Dare’s resignation after 29 years of service to the Town of Ocean City. They had also voted in the same 4-3 fashion to terminate Dare if he chose not to resign.

At that time, Council President Jim Hall said, “Four members of the council want a different city manager, they want to do something different, this is the new direction they want to go. He’s a great guy, a great city manager, we just decided wanted a new city manager. I wish him luck in whatever he does.”

In October, after Public Works Director Hal Adkins turned down the job, the Mayor and City Council voted to conduct a national search to fill the city manager’s position.