OCEAN CITY — Ocean City’s long-time chief building inspector was feted with a special retirement ceremony last month at City Hall after wearing many hats for 28 years for the resort.
Throughout his career with the city, Kevin Brown was a constant within the Planning and Community Development Department, most recently serving as the chief building inspector. Since his career with the town began in 1991, Brown has worn many hats including building inspector and plans examiner, floodplain administrator and even harbormaster in his role with the Board of Port Wardens.
As such, he has often been the town’s eyes and ears on new building permit approvals, inspections on existing buildings and, perhaps most importantly the safety and standards for the town’s vast rental properties. During the retirement ceremony on May 28, Planning and Community Development Director Bill Neville pointed out Brown has shared responsibility for over 30,000 residential properties in Ocean City, 20,000 of which are rental properties, along with building projects along 67 miles of shoreline in the resort.
Mayor Rick Meehan, who presided over the retirement ceremony, said the occasions were always bittersweet.
“You work with someone for a number of years and see their face in City Hall every day and it seems like all of the sudden they move on and there is definitely a void,” he said. “That is definitely the case with Kevin.”
As chief building inspector, Brown often had to reject certain project plans or hold developers’ feet to the fire on building code issues, a task Meehan called a thankless job.
“That’s one of the toughest jobs in Ocean City,” he said. “It’s one of those positions where he often has to say no. Throughout your 28-year career, you’ve worked with the community, worked with those trying to get building permits or get through inspections and you’ve always done it the right way by being part of the process and not simply saying no. I think that’s extremely important.”
For his part, Neville said he had the utmost respect for Brown’s dedication to the city.
“It’s been a pleasure to work next to somebody who has dedicated much of his life to making Ocean City better,” he said. “You’ve done great work to make sure rental properties are safe and not over-occupied. I know that’s been a steady mission of yours.”
Delegate Wayne Hartman was on hand to present a certificate on behalf of the General Assembly. Hartman said he worked closely with Brown in many ways as a councilman and on various committees, but also as a business owner involved in the rental property business. He jokingly said some of those assembled on Tuesday were either celebrating his accomplishments or celebrating his retirement, but said in either case, Brown was always thorough and fair.
“All kidding aside, it’s been a pleasure working with you when I was on the council, the PRESS Committee and even with my own business,” he said. “You don’t always like the answer Kevin gives you, but there is always a good reason behind it.”