NEW FOR FRIDAY: Council To Vote Tuesday On City Manager Contract

OCEAN CITY — Ocean City is in receipt of an employment agreement signed by David Recor, and it will become official as soon as the Mayor and Council votes to approve it on Tuesday.

Ocean City Human Resources Director Wayne Evans confirmed this morning that Recor sent an executed agreement last night to the city. It does not become final until the council approves it. A vote on the contract will come Tuesday, according to Council President Jim Hall. Recor could begin work for the city as early June 11, sources say.

“As of this morning, we have a signed deal on his end. It has to go to the council for review and that will take place Tuesday before the work session,” said Council President Jim Hall.

When asked if he expected any issues with the contract being made official, Jim Hall said he does not expect anything to hold up the finalization of the accord. However, Jim Hall, who has been an elected official in Ocean City since 1987 and council president since October 2010, did say he hoped the council could unify and show Recor support.

Last Tuesday, May 1, the City Council voted 4-3 to authorize Springsted, the city’s hired consultant for the city manager search process, to begin contract negotiations with Recor, who is serving his last day as city manager of Ft. Pierce, Fla. today after reaching a resignation agreement with his elected officials on Wednesday.

While the city manager vote this month was divided, with Brent Ashley, Jim Hall, Joe Hall and Margaret Pillas in support and Doug Cymek, Mary Knight and Lloyd Martin opposed, Jim Hall said he would like to see the council show unanimous support for the contract and subsequently for Recor.

“I would expect the three are going to vote against it. They did before, but I do not know why they would just not get on board at this point,” Jim Hall said this morning. “No matter what’s happened in the past, he’s coming as your city manager.”

Councilwoman Mary Knight said she will be consistent with her previous opposition. Knight said her vote on May 1 was not specifically against Recor, rather she simply preferred the other finalist.

All City Council members were sent a copy of the executed contract this morning, as Recor reportedly sent it back after hours last night.

 “I am going to be consistent and vote against the contract. What I was going to do is in my first meeting with Mr. Recor is talk to him and tell him I did not vote against him. I voted for another candidate,” Knight said. “I will give him my total support and I hope a year from now I can look at David and say, ‘I was so wrong and so happy that you came and I’m impressed what you have done this past year.’  I am going to be supportive of him but consistent with my vote next week.”

Councilman Doug Cymek said he would prefer to withhold comment until the process is completed, but he has been adamantly opposed to the search process continuing on once Councilman Joe Hall personally reached out to Recor on April 11 to discuss in a 13-minute conversation the specific nature of the council-majority form of government.

Even prior to Joe Hall’s phone call, Councilman Lloyd Martin intended to vote for the other finalist, as he preferred that candidate over Recor.

Although the agreement is not yet public information, Recor reportedly has accepted an annual salary of $147,000, three weeks paid vacation first year and $10,000 for relocation expenses, among other expenses. Recor reportedly has a house lined up to rent in the Little Salisbury area. Recor was reportedly making about $140,000 annually in Ft. Pierce.

It has been a busy week for Recor in Ft. Pierce. On Monday, Recor told his mayor and commission his future was in the Florida coastal town, but he never specifically said he was not still in talks with Ocean City. Later at that meeting, Commissioner Tom Perona made it clear he wanted Recor out as city manager and called for a meeting later in the month.

On Wednesday, Ft. Pierce Mayor and Commission unanimously accepted his resignation, which will result in Recor receiving about $153,000 as part of a severance package that was reportedly outlined in his contract agreement.

“As City Manager, I have reinvented Fort Pierce City Hall by reorganizing departments, restructuring staff, streamlining administrative processes and developing systems for better accountability. My administration has reduced the City’s ad valorem tax rate by more than 30% since 2005 and has also reduced the City’s General Fund by more than $22 million since 2008,” Recor wrote in his resignation letter. “Please accept my offer of resignation. I believe that it will be in everyone’s best interests.”

Recor is a credentialed manager with the International City/County Manager Association. Before coming to Ft. Pierce in 2005, he was the deputy director of Planning & Community Development from 2003 to 2005; planning and land use director for Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska for one month in 2003; deputy planning director for Hilton Head Island from 1998 to 2003; director of administrative services for the Desoto County Board of Supervisors in Arcadia, Fla. from 1996 to 1998; growth management administrator for Cape Coral, Fla. from 1993 to 1996; zoning administrator for Culpeper, Va. from 1989 to 1993; and assistant town manager for Chincoteague, Va. for less than a year in 1989.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.