Council to Leave Seat Vacant Until May Election

first_imgCity Hall in Ocean CityOcean City will leave one seat on its seven-member City Council vacant until the May 2016 election.Council Vice President Mike Allegretto resigned Sept. 14 to take a job as the director of the city’s Community Services Department, leaving the remaining six council members with two legal options to replace him: 1) Make an appointment within 30 days of Allegretto’s resignation, or 2) Leave the seat empty until candidates can run in May 2016 to complete the remaining two years of his term.The idea of voting on a new appointment at the Oct. 8 City Council meeting did not receive enough support, City Council President Keith Hartzell said on Tuesday. Three council members would have had to request adding the appointment to the agenda by Monday.The decision not to act by Oct. 8 essentially kills the idea of making an appointment. Voters will decide on the new council member in May.At the most recent council meeting, Hartzell, Vice President Pete Madden and Councilman Pete Guinosso. had argued for leaving the decision to voters.Councilman Antwan McClellan and Councilman Mike DeVlieger said the issue warranted further discussion. Councilman Tony Wilson was not present.Madden said he would prefer to leave the at-large seat open until the vote in May. He said he would feel differently if it were a ward representative charged with working more closely with constituents from different parts of town.“If it were a ward seat, it would make more sense to fill it,” Madden said.Hartzell said he was worried about the tight time frame for filling the seat and said he was committed to keeping interviews and the process in the public eye. He also said he wanted to keep the May election fair.“I don’t feel comfortable choosing somebody and giving that person an advantage,” Hartzell said.If council remains at six members through May, votes that result in a tie will fail, according to City Solicitor Dottie McCrosson. The mayor, however, would have been able to cast a tiebreaking vote on the appointment of a new council member.Hartzell said if three council members had requested it by Monday, the council workshop scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 1, could have been dedicated to a discussion of whether or not to fill the seat.If council had decided to make an appointment, interviews and a vote would have taken place at the regularly scheduled council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 8.Candidates now will run in May 2016 to complete the remaining two years of Allegretto’s term. Candidates will then run for a full four-year term in the at-large seat in May 2018.last_img

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