OCEAN CITY – Although the election brought about significant changes for Ocean City, newly elected Council President Lloyd Martin is refusing to look back at the past but rather ahead in the town’s positive direction.
On Nov. 6, the voters returned incumbents Mary Knight, Doug Cymek and Mayor Rick Meehan to the City Council and elected former Councilman Joe Mitrecic and former City Manager Dennis Dare. Mitrecic and Dare replaced former Council President Jim Hall and Councilman Joe Hall on the council.
Martin acknowledged with the overturn of the City Council and the hiring of City Manager David Recor in the past year, plus the hiring of a new police chief to replace Bernadette DiPino and a director of planning and community development due to the retirement of Jesse Houston, there is a lot of new actions taking place in Ocean City.
“I wasn’t happy with the way things were going in the past but I think we are moving in the right direction now,” Martin said. “I don’t like to look backwards anymore. I would rather look forward. Whether it is people talking about what happened before the elections or what have you. We are better looking forward than we are looking back at the past.”
During a recent strategic planning meeting with the City Council, Martin was pleased to see the new council come together and set Ocean City on a positive track.
“We found there is a lot of common ground even within the five of us [two council members being absent] and found it very surprising that we all want to move Ocean City forward in the same direction,” Martin said. “As that plan comes out, it will be our framework for the next five years and on, so I am very happy that is moving forward.”
If Martin had to choose a highlight from the past year, he said it was the council’s vote to move Ocean City’s Election Day to coincide with the national Election Day in November because it resulted in a significant increase in voter turnout.
“And, of course, I was very happy to be elected to serve as council president, and that they [council members] had the faith in me to do that,” he said. “We have a good council now that will work together. We are not always going to agree but that’s ok. We want people with a difference of opinions that can work together and we can find that balance.”
As Ocean City moves ahead into 2013, Martin has noticed a change in the atmosphere as he walks through City Hall and comes across city employees around town.
“The morale of the whole town has changed and I want to continue that stewardship that we have from our employees … providing continuity throughout the town of Ocean City,” he said.
As far as projects occurring throughout town, Martin is looking forward to the performing arts auditorium being constructed in the Roland E. Powell Convention Center, the completion of the new Boardwalk and Caroline Street Comfort Station and Stage.
“I am looking at all of the positives that we are going through … what we have done in the past is moving us forward in the right direction as far as moving the town forward in being clean and safe,” he said. “I want to stress that because being a tourist town we don’t want to be the ones putting the negative factors out there. There are enough negatives in the world without us doing it for anybody else. There are good things in everything we do and if we work together we can get it done.”