Are we seeing Ocean View Town Council begin to work together?
In a 4-1 vote Tuesday evening, the council agreed to a compromise in the situation regarding the contract of Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin. The compromise restores the previous arrangement in the town where McLaughlin’s contract stated that he reported directly to the mayor.
In a vote last month, council voted 3-2 to change the terms of his contract, forcing McLaughlin to report to Town Manager Conway Gregory instead. That vote was done because of an item in the town charter that read that all town employees report directly to the town manager.
After a few tweaks during Tuesday’s meeting, the compromise now states that McLaughlin reports to the mayor who, in turn, reports to the other council members.
Both sides were adamant at the time of the original vote that they were correct, and there was language in both McLaughlin’s contract and the town’s charter that provided both sides ammunition at the time. However, the willingness of council members to reach a compromise regarding this highly volatile issue might be a sign of good things to come.
“It’s time to put it behind us,” said Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood. “This is done in good faith and it is the right thing to do. We are going to make this work.”
And that, readers, is the important thing — council members are beginning to work together to make things work, in the best interests of the town.
It’s probably not going to be a situation with the current power structure where council members and the mayor all get together for vacations, but it doesn’t have to be in order for the town to run smoothly.
And this is a good step in that direction.