Solicitor Position Should Be Salaried
The passing of Guy Ayres the City Solicitor of Ocean City and in Government for 37 years underscores the end of an era. It reminds us that life is in constant change. That although we often perceive that our days are the same, they are not, every day is different, ever changing to the unending parade of time. The so called “good-old-boys” that has governed the town is subject to the same parade of time that we all are. Guy Ayres will be indelibly enshrined in the memories of many in government, or observers of government on the eastern shore if not throughout the State of Maryland. Relegating him to memory and marking the end of an era doesn’t diminish his service yet and with every end there is the seed of a beginning.
Although often in disagreement with Guy, I respected his intensity and knowledge, always for the Town of Ocean City which through him was reflected in public service by all in leadership during his generation. I for one will certainly not forget him. To his family, I am sorry for your loss. To the community, he will be remembered for a style of governance that will prove irreplaceable.
After a period of remembrance and mourning, the town will soon set out to find a new city solicitor, and I would like to give some thoughts on what I hope will be considered in their search to fill Guy Ayres’ shoes.
A city solicitor can best serve if he or she is paid an annual salary and dedicated to the position. Moving forward I would hope the new city solicitor would be hired on the same basis as the city manager and not paid on a service rendered basis. In Annapolis the city solicitor is on the payroll and makes about $150,000 salary a year. He is not allowed to perform services outside of his job nor is he paid piece meal for work performed and the reason is simple.
To continue paying any city solicitor piecemeal may put their income stream in conflict with their duty to the Town of Ocean City. In a private enterprise, we expect to be paid more for working more. The more widgets one sells the more they make, however a city solicitor is able to better serve with a steady income stream. It might not be in the town’s interests to pass more ordinances or participate in more litigation. A city solicitor should not be penalized by being paid less for determining not to recommend an ordinance or not to embark in litigation, nor should he or she be rewarded more by the number of ordinances written in a year particularly if they are not needed.
Although we spent considerably more than $150,000 a year to Guy’s law firm, they give us a discount and provide extensive services. It never was about the expense for me but always about aligning human interest in a manner that might best serve the town and in the future, I would hope that the new city solicitor would be a salaried employee of the Town of Ocean City.
Bike Week Needs Special Zone Rules
Once again Ocean City residents had to endure the roar of groups of motorcyclists as they traveled up and down Coastal Highway this weekend. Thousands of bikers attended the OC BikeFest that was advertised as the largest motorcycle rally on the east coast. The OC BikeFest event required that Ocean City police to call on a number of outside law enforcement agency for assistance. Numerous individuals were arrested for speeding and other reckless driving.
This event and similar motor vehicle events are getting to the point that the Ocean City Council needs to reassess whether the benefits of these events exceed their costs and results in staining the family image that Ocean City advertises.
The council’s initial step should be to find out why OC BikeFest was not designated a special event. The special event law, passed as an emergency law in April 2018, allows the State Highway Administration, at the request of Ocean City officials and the meeting of certain other motor vehicle requirements, to designate Coastal Highway as a special event zone, and reduce speed limits in that zone to 30 mph. Violators can face a $1,000 fine. The special event law has been so helpful to the Ocean City police department that discussions have taken place to extend the time period the special event law can be in effect.
There is no question that OC Bike Fest met the requirements of the special event law. The City Council owes Ocean City residents an explanation as why they did not request the SHA to designate OC BikeFest a special event.
Joseph H. Potter
It is with much appreciation and gratitude that we the members of the Germantown School express to the communities, churches, businesses, and organizations in whatever way you were involved in the support of the John Maxwell benefit held on Saturday, Aug. 24.
A special thanks to Carol Rose and Clarence Rounds, Jr. for their volunteered hours. Thanks for helping to bless John with $1,712. It would not have been the great success without every one’s support.
(The writer is the president of the Germantown School.)