OCEAN CITY – A familiar name and face was tapped this week to fill the resort’s newly-created deputy city manager position.
Earlier this year, City Manager Terry McGean recommended creating a new deputy city manager position to assist with running the day-to-day operations of the city. McGean pitched the idea after determining there were 15 town departments that report directly to the city manager.
McGean recommended creating the deputy city manager position to siphon off some of the direct reports to his office, giving him more time to be an effective and proactive city manager.
In April, the Mayor and Council approved the new position and the process to find an individual to fill the spot began in earnest. McGean stressed from the beginning he believed the position could be best filled internally.
On Tuesday, McGean recommended the deputy city manager position be filled by Ocean City Police Department (OCPD) Captain Elton Harmon, a recommendation the council ultimately approved.
“We discussed the creation of a deputy city manager position and you approved it,” he said. “I stressed at the time I probably had strong internal candidates, particularly in the public safety division. During that meeting I stated my intentions to advertise the position internally only based on my belief we had strong talent in-house.”
McGean explained the process by which Harmon was ultimately recommended.
“We received five strong applications,” he said. “I then appointed a committee to assist with interviewing the candidates. Each candidate was asked a series of questions and able to provide additional remarks and ask questions of the committee.”
The list of five potential candidates was winnowed to two, and McGean was left with the decision to make on the finalists.
“After the interview process, two candidates stood out and I met individually with both,” he said. “It gives me great pleasure to make a recommendation to the Mayor and Council to appoint Elton Harmon as the deputy city manager.”
Harmon joined the OCPD as a seasonal officer in 1996 and was part of the first class of seasonal officers to be
trained in bicycle patrol in 1997. He became a full-time officer in 1997 and has since served the department in several capacities including patrol sergeant, acting patrol lieutenant, assistant commander for the support services division, special projects and community services lieutenant, assistant commander of the criminal investigation division, and, most recently, captain of the patrol division.
Harmon has also served as defensive tactics unit coordinator, departmental armorer and as a 20-year veteran of the OCPD’s quick response team. McGean said those attributes are part of what made Harmon an attractive candidate for the deputy city manager position.
“Some of the reasons that I have for making the recommendation is his diverse experience working with the police department,” he said. “He worked his way through the ranks, and he served as captain of two divisions. He has worked with virtually every department in the city in some form or fashion.”
McGean said Harmon really shined in his ability to handle large budgets as the administrative captain for the department.
“As the administrative captain, he handled the largest budget in the city,” he said. “He also has extensive experience serving as the special events and special projects coordinator for the police department. He has a proven record of leadership and the knowledge and understanding of what I believe are all of the issues that will affect the city.”
When it came down to making a final decision, McGean said Harmon’s intangible traits are what separated him from the other qualified applicants for the position.
“He has shown intelligence and flexibility and an excellent personality,” he said. “Most importantly, and what I came back to over and over as I made my decision, is his experience as a police captain during arguably some of the toughest periods in the history of Ocean City.”
He continued, “His leadership addressing crime on the Boardwalk speaks for itself. We just had a police commission meeting and crime in June was down significantly, and I think Captain Harmon has had a lot to do with that.”
Mayor Rick Meehan applauded the choice and agreed the pool of potential final candidates reflected well on the leadership in the ranks of department heads and employees.
“I think it was an excellent choice,” he said. “I think the city manager went through an excellent process to come up with the recommendation. I understand there were other good candidates as well, and that speaks well for our staff and our employees as a whole. Everybody up here looks forward to working with you.”