McGean Proposes New Deputy City Manager Position

OCEAN CITY — A proposed reorganization of the city’s pecking order includes the creation of a new deputy city manager position.

City Manager Terry McGean took over his new position about a month-and-a-half ago, and it has become apparent his office needs assistance in handling the ever-growing daily operations of the city. During a budget introduction session this week, McGean pitched the idea of creating a deputy city manager position to whom some of the town’s many departments would report directly.

“When we talked about me taking on this position, there was talk about reorganization and the definite need for a deputy city manager,” he said. “I had initial thoughts when I came up on that, and after sitting in that office for about a month and a half now, I’m glad I had that time because my thought process has changed a little bit. … My original thought was this would be a chief of staff. The departments underneath that position would be direct reports.”

While some departments would report directly to the proposed deputy city manager, most would continue to report directly to McGean.

“Some of those departments I believe need to stay as direct reports,” he said. “My draft proposal is to create the position of deputy city manager. You have the job description.”

There are currently 16 departments reporting directly to the city manager. Under the proposal, five would be siphoned off as direct reports to the deputy city manager, while 11 would continue to report directly to the city manager. The departments proposed for direct reports to the deputy city manager would be recreation and parks, risk management, grants and special projects, information technology and planning and community development.

The larger departments would continue to report directly to the city manager under the proposal, according to McGean.

“I feel very strongly that public works, tourism, police and fire always need to be a direct report to the city manager,” he said. “I felt the finance departments should always be the same way.”

McGean said the human resources department was currently consuming much of his time.

“As much time as I am spending with human resources, I think they need to stay a direct report to the city manager,” he said. “I think it’s important the deputy city manager has direct reports. Otherwise, what’s the point of having the deputy?”

McGean said siphoning off some of the departments to the deputy city manager would make his office more efficient.

“They are departments that will take a significant load off myself,” he said. “As it stands now, I’m doing a lot of reacting and not a lot of proactive stuff. This is what I’d like to propose. I’ve met with all the department heads that would be impacted by this and they all understand my reasons for doing this. If you all agree, I will initiate the process to hire a deputy city manager.”

Councilman Tony DeLuca agreed the number of departments reporting directly to the city manager was onerous.

“There would still be 11 direct reports to Terry,” he said. “Before tourism was reorganized, there were 20-something departments. At one point, there were 23. That’s too much for one person.”

Mayor Rick Meehan agreed.

“I think you’ve put a lot of thought into this,” he said. “… After sitting where you are, I can tell you it’s essential that human resources report directly to you. It’s very vital and important role that human resources plays in our community.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.