Although it’s unclear the scope of the conversation, it’s known the Worcester County Commissioners talked this week in closed session on some level about property acquisition for a sports complex.
This week’s agenda included the text, “meet in closed session to discuss potential acquisition of Real Property for Public Purposes.” During his explanation as to why he didn’t want to view a “Real Sports” television special on youth sports complexes, Commissioner Chip Bertino confirmed the closed session was indeed about buying property for that very topic.
“Madam president, I’d like to make a motion that the showing of this video be delayed until we’ve had the opportunity to discuss in closed session what we’re going to discuss as far as the sports complex. I think showing this video now sets expectations that may or may not be there,” said Bertino. That motion failed with the only support coming from Commissioner Jim Bunting.
Bertino and Bunting have been on the record for more than a year as against the government being involved in a youth recreation sports complex project, which comes with a tremendous upside as far as economic development for the county. Last year the commissioners voted 5-2, with Bertino and Bunting opposed, for staff to begin exploring possible sites for an eight-foot outdoor sports complex.
Although it was never discussed publicly or included in the job announcement, I took the county’s hiring of former Ocean City Recreation and Parks Director Tom Perlozzo as its next recreation and parks director as an indicator the county was serious about pursing land for a project. I don’t believe Perlozzo, not known for letting the grass grow under his feet while working for Ocean City or in the private sector, would have taken the job if he didn’t believe the county was all in on pursuing some major additions to the county’s recreation offerings.
The path to better relations between the Worcester County Commissioners and the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office hit an early hurdle this week. It’s no secret the present commissioners and Sheriff’s Office leadership have not been on the same page in recent years on a variety of issues.
During his campaign, Sheriff-Elect Matt Crisafulli stressed better communication between his office and the commissioners as well as the media was going to be a focal point of his early days in office. While Crisafulli will not be sworn in for another four months, he did appear before the commissioners this week to try and change their minds on a color choice for new vehicles recently approved. Crisafulli and sheriff leadership wanted these vehicles to be red and black instead of the typical blue. The commissioners recently okayed the new vehicles but only if they were blue. The color choice had to do with these new vehicles being for command staff and wanting them to have a separate, higher profile.
Scrutinizing every dollar makes sense for the commissioners. That’s good governance, but on this week’s issue I side with Sheriff-Elect Matt Crisafulli. He should be given the leeway to select the colors of his agency’s vehicles without the commissioners micromanaging his office. This is surely one of the reasons there is tension between the board and men and women in blue. This was a lost opportunity for the commissioners as well as the new sheriff to better their communication and improve relations. It went the other way instead.
On one hand, the ongoing war of words through court filings in the topless case in Ocean City is humorous. However, it’s also disturbing because of the massive amount of taxpayer dollars Ocean City will have to spend to defend the ordinance it passed last year to prevent women going topless in town.
A hearing was slated for today in U.S. District Court on a preliminary injunction, which was sought by five females involved in the case to allow them to go topless in the summer while the larger matter was adjudicated. It was delayed so the plaintiffs could secure an expert to testify against the town’s assertion that females walking around topless would offend the majority of the public’s “sensibilities.” As a result, the town will now find its own expert to proffer an opinion on how women going around half naked would appall the majority of beach-goers.
This court transcript is going to be a must read. I’m sure it will be funny, but what’s not laughable is the obscene amount of money being spent on this case.