Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk

When you are in the public fish bowl that is elected office or high-ranking appointed office in government, perceived lapses in judgment can often snowball into something altogether bigger than they should be.

That likely occurred this week during or after City Manager David Recor’s run-in with a street sign in a city vehicle on Route 50. Some think it’s news, while others wonder why it got any ink in the first place (or computer screen time as it was earlier this week).

The collision that Recor had with a sign on Route 50 last Friday in his city Tahoe was one part of the story. Another part was the fact he did not have to immediately take the required drug and alcohol screening and instead allowed to wait until the end of the work day. It’s not typical protocol within the city apparently to wait nine hours after an incident to test if drugs and/or alcohol were in an employee’s system.

While accidents happen and stalling the test to get important work done might not be a big deal, the most concerning thing to me out of all this was the apparent disdain for the city manager among some circles within the city.

For instance, by the end of the weekend, I had heard in various capacities from a dozen individuals informing me of the Friday morning incident and what was perceived to be special treatment Recor received at City Hall. Whether that happened is questionable, but it came as a surprise to me to learn about his approval rating within the city.

It’s apparently not good and morale is poor in many circles. This is not exactly news because the boss is oftentimes not the most popular person around the office and usually subject to criticism. Former City Manager Dennis Dare was not the favorite among all employees, although he appeared to have their respect due to his tenure as the city’s chief executive officer.

Although I don’t think the city handled last week’s accident as well as it should, it’s not a huge deal. My bigger concerns lie with the fact employees are quietly tracking how much money the city manager has cost the city by keeping a tab of the damage he has done to city-owned vehicles and computers as well as documenting a running log of the personal time he takes off from work. That should worry the Mayor and Council as well because that’s not the normal strained relations between a superior and employees.

It’s been said several times over the last year, but once again Ocean City is trying to make it clear to the State Highway Administration it does not want anything to do with a plan that would reduce travel lanes along Coastal Highway.

The MD 528 Community Safety and Enhancement Project aims to tackle a 1.4-mile stretch of Coastal Highway from the Route 90 Bridge to 40 Street. Many short-term improvements have already been implemented on that stretch, including reducing the speed limit to 35 mph, adjusting traffic light timing and relocating bus stops.

Next up for city and state consideration are the more costly and time-consuming improvements that deal with the median, sidewalk widening and converting to six travel lanes from eight on Coastal Highway. The city’s Transportation Commission was adamant this week the travel lane reduction concept needs to be put on the back burner and never discussed again.

The focus should be on enhancing the median they believe. The goal being to create something that will make it impossible for anyone to cross mid-block, like what’s seen on busy roads in Atlantic City and Virginia Beach.

In my opinion, landscaping will not accomplish this goal alone. There must be some sort of fence erected on the median surrounded by vegetation to make this happen. It doesn’t have to be an obtrusive style fence that prevents motorists from seeing the other side of the highway, but it can be done in an aesthetically-pleasing manner while meeting the goal of forcing pedestrians to cross at the marked intersections.