Free Talk Squashed At County Meeting

SNOW HILL – In spite of concerns from two commissioners, a derelict property in Ocean City was not discussed at this week’s meeting of the Worcester County Commissioners.

Though Commissioners Joe Mitrecic and Jim Bunting wanted to talk about a run-down property on Madison Avenue that’s causing concern for local residents, a decision by the president of the commissioners, Diana Purnell, stopped the discussion before it started.

“I thought it was important, but it is what it is,” Mitrecic said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Toward the end of Tuesday’s regular meeting, Mitrecic asked if he could bring up a topic for discussion.

“Can we do it in closed session?” Purnell replied.

Mitrecic said they could not.

“This is something that’s very timely and I’d appreciate a couple minutes of the commission’s time,” he said.

Bunting said he also wanted the issue to be discussed and offered to bring it up.

“No I’ll wait for the president to rule,” Mitrecic said. “It’s her commission. I respectfully requested to bring something up and I want to know whether you’re going to let me do it or not.”

Purnell said she preferred to know what was going to be discussed in advance. It’s a point she previously made in June, when Mitrecic provided the commissioners with correspondence he’d received from Ocean City officials at the end of a meeting.

“I’d like to stick to what we decided to do, that when something comes up like this, I know about it beforehand,” Purnell said Tuesday. “We need to stick to what we said we’re going to do. That’s what we need to do.”

When contacted after the meeting, Mitrecic said the issue he’d wanted to discuss was a derelict property on Madison Avenue, an area that is roughly between his district and Bunting’s district.

“There’s a derelict property that needs to be addressed on Madison Avenue,” he said. “My constituents called and complained about it being a derelict property.”

Bunting said he’d also heard from residents concerned about the Madison Avenue property. Nevertheless, he said he respected the president’s decision.

“I do believe that any county commissioner has the right to ask to talk about something at the end of the meeting,” he said. “In my three years as president, I don’t think I ever said no to anybody.”

Because he wasn’t able to broach the topic this week, Mitrecic said he’d requested it be added to the agenda for the next commissioners’ meeting, which is in early September.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.