Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

The timing of new City Manager David Recor’s hiring is going to prove interesting. Recor is expected to begin his new job in Ocean City on June 11 or thereabout. Of course, that’s in the middle of Ocean City’s busy season and four months before the municipal election.

In last week’s interview, Recor discussed how he plans to get the City Council on the same page. He said it involves meeting with the Mayor and Council and identifying goals agreeable to the eight-member body.

“I’m really looking forward to beginning our work on developing consensus on common goals and objectives, including a prioritized list of projects and activities, because what I can do then is use that feedback to develop an annual work program with specific action items that can be delegated and passed to various departments throughout the organization. …,” he said. “That is what will drive our work effort. That is what the employees will know we are working toward and we will do this every year. It’s developed by the employees, but the council will establish the priorities. It will keep us focused. That’s how we are going to be successful. It’s going to be our first initiative and we are going to do it.”

The question that will have to be answered early on is whether the council will even agree to have this brainstorming session this summer or simply wait until after the election. With the council makeup likely to change in October and new faces sure to be added, it makes little to no sense to go through this process if it has to be completely redone after the election.

More than likely, this collaborative session, which does seem like a good place to start with a new city manager, should take place after the fall election and give Recor some time to get to know his personnel and the city.

Why does the Ocean City mayor not have a vote for city manager?

A citizen asked me that a couple months ago and I just got around to asking City Solicitor Guy Ayres about it this week. Ayres, who has written most of the city’s code book based on his long tenure as the town’s solicitor, said this week that’s simply what the code stipulates.

The question was raised last year after Dennis Dare was removed in a 4-3 vote and the citizen correctly recalled that the mayor (then Jim Mathias) had a vote in the hiring of the police chief years ago (Bernadette DiPino). The resident wondered why the difference. DiPino was hired in a 6-2 vote with the mayor supporting her accession to the top cop post.

According to the code, the chief of police “shall be appointed by a majority of the votes of the Mayor and City Council with each council member and the mayor having one vote.” The code does not provide the mayor with a vote on the city manager. That likely stems back to the controversial shift from a strong mayoral form of government to the current council-manager structure.

The code could be changed through a charter amendment, but that’s no easy chore. The code can be changed in two ways — through the petition to referendum process that requires a certain number of voter signatures and then a majority vote in an election (what city employees are currently doing with hopes to unionize) or by a simple vote of the council.

Neither appear imminent at this time.

Wednesday’s announcement of Worcester County’s next superintendent of schools was almost anticlimactic because the day before the media in the Midwest was reporting that Dr. Jerry Wilson was resigning as superintendent of Colorado’s Poudre school district.

In a statement to the Northern Colorado Business Report, Wilson wrote, "I am submitting my resignation … to pursue another superintendency. I have enjoyed my time in Fort Collins, with the opportunity to serve the children and the PSD community."

Official word from the local Board of Education came on Wednesday and at that point it was more of a confirmation, as a result of Wilson’s move the day before.

It will be a sad day to see current Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jon Andes step down next month and enter retirement, but Wilson seems to me to be a suitable replacement. He will have huge shoes to fill because Andes is a beloved and respected member of the community and not just in education circles.

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.