OCEAN CITY — Ocean City officials this week tapped a familiar name and face to fill the recently-recreated Director of Tourism and Business Development post, a quarterback of sorts to direct the town’s sales and marketing strategy.
Earlier this year, the Mayor and Council signed off on creating the new Tourism and Business Development Director and directed City Manager Doug Miller to define a job description and initiate the hiring process. With an emphasis on business development and sales in order to attract more family-friendly events, sports teams and groups to Ocean City to fill the town’s hotel rooms and accommodations, Miller was looking for a single individual, or perhaps a small team of individuals in the future, to go out and really sell the resort and all it has to offer.
After an extensive application and interview process, Miller on Monday nominated Tom Perlozzo for the new department head position. After some debate about where Perlozzo should fit in the town’s employee grading formula, the council unanimously confirmed Perlozzo as the new Director of Tourism and Business Development.
Perlozzo brings a familiar name and face to the new position. Since 2018, Perlozzo has served as Worcester County’s Director of Recreation and Parks and added to his title in 2019 to become Worcester County Director of Recreation and Parks and Tourism and Economic Development.
He was the Director of Recreation and Parks for the Town of Ocean City for two decades. He brings 30 years of experience in recreation and parks and sports marketing to the new position, which will serve the town well as it attempts to rebrand its image as a youth sports destination.
Prior to stepping into his new position with Worcester County in 2018, Perlozzo was a successful entrepreneur and independent sales representative for Golf Magazine, Golf.com and Sports Illustrated, where he specialized in resort travel and developing marketing plans. He was recognized as a top sales producer in the country in travel.
Perlozzo served as Ocean City’s director of recreation and parks from 1985 to 1998 and played an integral role in the growth and development of the resort’s vast network of parks and its seemingly endless recreational programs for residents and visitors. During his tenure in Ocean City, Perlozzo had oversight on all recreation programs and the parks in the resort including the growth and development of the 58-acre Northside Park complex. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, including two years as president.
Miller said on Monday there were 100 applicants for the job and he and a panel assembled to work through the interview and hiring process winnowed the list down to eight. From there, four were brought in for in-person interviews.
“We assembled a panel of trusted employees and members from the private sector,” he said. “The panel forwarded a list of four to bring in for in-person interviews. All of them could have done the job, but two really stood out.”
From those two finalists, Perlozzo was ultimately nominated and approved by the council on Monday. The intent is for the new hire to hit the streets and sell all the resort has to offer with the goal in bringing more economic development to the resort such as conventions, large groups, sports tournaments and the like.
While all agreed Perlozzo was the right person to fill the position, there was considerable debate among council members about just where the new position fit in the town’s grading system. During earlier discussions, it was agreed the new position would come in as a department head near the top of the town’s hierarchy.
Miller said it was his understanding the new position would come in at a grade 128 with a salary range of $90,000 to $141,000. In fact, Miller said Perlozzo had been offered, and accepted, the grade 128 terms. However, when Council Secretary Tony DeLuca made a motion to approve Perlozzo as the new Tourism and Business Development director, his motion included starting the new position at grade 129 ($94,000 to $148,000).
The topic touched off a debate, not so much about the salary range for the different grades, but where the position fell in the town’s pecking order. Perlozzo’s accepted annual salary is $131,000.
Councilman John Gehrig said it was his understanding the new position would come in at grade 129.
“We spent five years talking about this,” he said. “I think we agreed this position would come in just under the city manager. The grade that matches what we discussed is 129. It’s a new position. There is no level that matches what we already discussed.”
Miller explained how the grades were determined.
“We grade positions using a formula,” he said. “We can come in and show you how the grading formula works.”
Gehrig said he didn’t want to delay the vote to approve Perlozzo in order to have another work session on the grading issue.
“I don’t want to waste any more time on this,” he said. “It’s been a long process and I don’t want to hold this up.”
Councilman Lloyd Martin said Miller had been charged with the responsibility of recruiting and hiring the new position.
“We’re micro-managing the city manager,” he said. “We gave him a task and he did it. He brought us the right person at the right price.”
The council ultimately approved Perlozzo for the new position starting at grade 129. Perlozzo will start his new role with Ocean City on June 1.