OCEAN CITY – The race to become a City Council member received a last-minute entry with the filing of Phillip Sayan, who is running to give the council a fresh perspective as well as represent and be the voice for Boardwalk business owners.
Sayan was the last candidate to file for City Council for this year’s elections on Nov. 6. Sayan’s candidacy was announced last Wednesday only a week before the deadline on Oct. 9.
Sayan owns Boardwalk Fries near N. Division Street on the Boardwalk and believes there is a void to be filled on the City Council to represent Boardwalk businesses.
“Besides [Councilwoman] Margaret Pillas, there is not a lot of representation from the people that work on the Boardwalk,” Sayan said. “I thought this might be my chance to be a voice for business such as myself.”
During his time of owning a business on the Boardwalk, Sayan has gotten to know his neighboring business owners/operators.
“We talked about it and it is more of having a voice from the Boardwalk on the City Council for us, and that was pretty much what spurred it along … I put myself out there,” he said of his decision to run for council.
As a store owner on the Boardwalk Sayan is most concerned with perpetuating the future of Ocean City.
“You want to make sure that people are still coming to Ocean City, and you want to make sure it is appealing to people,” he said. “Certainly there are questions that need to be addressed to keep people coming here. If people lose interest in Ocean City, then obviously they are not going to come out, right?”
Sayan referenced back to many years ago when Ocean City received the All-America City Award.
“That is the kind of goal we need to set for ourselves, as a long-term goal, as the people that work in Ocean City and reside in Ocean City,” he said. “We want to lead people with a good feeling when they leave Ocean City and wanting to come back.”
Sayan said he has been following Ocean City’s government more in the last year and is aware of the division among the current council and has decided to distance himself from it.
“This is something that is new to me. I have never been an extremely political person prior to this,” he said.
“I would like to start with a clean slate and be open-minded in what Ocean City needs. If we can make a goal for Ocean City, long- and short-term goals on where we want to be, share it with the people … and make a cohesive group out of the city as we move forward.”
Sayan said he has been following current issues in Ocean City, such as the city employees’ effort to place a referendum on the ballot this year to gain the right to collective bargaining.
“Honestly a union has its place,” he said. “I am not against unions, and in certain situations I think you have to have a union … that being the case for policemen, firemen, and school teachers, people that put their life on the line or at risk, even city workers. The union is important and we need to make sure that people are taken care of and I think that a union does that. You also need to be concerned about, is too much of something a bad thing? Do we need to be cognitive of the fact that of where we draw the line with where the union begins or lets off. … Is that to say a union is a bad thing, no, but it does have its place and its limitations.”
Sayan plans to begin networking with the community by getting out and talking to people, as well as attending upcoming election forums.
Sayan, 42, is from Edgewater, Md., and moved to Ocean City six years ago. Sayan attended and graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School and St. Vincent College. He attended Bowie State University and the University of Maryland during his graduate studies. Before he owned his Boardwalk business in Ocean City, he worked at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a network engineer.
Sayan joined a list of now 12 candidates in this year’s Ocean City municipal elections.
Incumbent council members are Joe Hall, Jim Hall, Doug Cymek and Mary Knight.
Other candidates include Joe Mitrecic, Dennis Dare, Sean Rox, Bob Baker and John Adkins.
Finally, Mayor Rick Meehan and Nick Campagnoli are running for the position of mayor.