Earlier this week, the Town of Ocean View unanimously approved the ratification of an employment contract hiring Dianne Vogel as the town’s new town manager.
“She was the most qualified,” said Tom Sheeran who chaired the town manager search committee. “She comes across as very professional and yet easy to talk to.”
In May, the Town began to search for a new town manager following the quick departure of Rick Konrad, who had been hired in March to replace former town manager Conway Gregory, who had been released from his contract without cause in November of last year.
Sheeran said that, following the Town’s initial search for Konrad, the process to find Vogel was a smooth process.
“By then we had a procedure in place,” he explained. “I believe we did a good job both times. It was unfortunate that Rick Konrad didn’t stay… but he obviously had other family problems that were hidden from us, so to speak, that we didn’t know about…
“I think in both cases we had extremely qualified individuals, and I think this young lady will be quite an addition to our town — a very positive addition to our town.”
Vogel, who received her bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from the University of Maryland College Park, had previously worked at property management company Legum & Norman in Ocean City, Md. In 2005, she moved to Las Vegas, Nev., to work with another property management company.
“I currently work with the city and the city council on a number of projects,” said Vogel of the City of Las Vegas. “I manage a very large master-planned community of over 6,600 homes in Las Vegas. We do a lot of projects in conjunction with the City, so I’m very familiar with the workings of a council and know this is a very good fit for the next step in my career.”
Vogel said she grew up in the Washington, D.C., area and was first introduced to the area when she visited the Delmarva beaches as a child.
“As a child, I used to vacation frequently in Ocean City and surrounding beaches. I was a property owner for a while in Ocean City, and the Town of Ocean View offered a quieter environment.”
A decade ago Vogel bought property in Ocean View and built a house. She said that, since her move to Las Vegas, she has kept up to date with area news, which is how she found out about the town manager position being available in Ocean View.
“As a property owner, what’s going on back there is very important to me… I don’t get to spend as much time working on the house and doing things that I love and visiting my family,” said Vogel. “My family is back there. I have two daughters — one who lives in Maryland and one who lives in West Virginia – and my mother and brother live in Virginia.
“It’s tough when you’re so across country, I don’t get to see my family as much as I’d like. There are only so many weeks I can get back to visit in a year. So being able to work there again would certainly give me that opportunity.”
Vogel said she’s looking forward to working in a small-town environment and helping the town’s businesses and residents flourish.
“Having been in the community management field, I very much appreciate the HOAs, I know there are a number of them in Ocean View — Bear Trap, Wedgefield, Fairway Village... I like the small-town feel of Ocean View, yet you can see the infrastructure coming along.
“I’m very optimistic that I’m able to assist the staff in whatever projects they have coming up. Lee and I have talked about several,” she said of Ocean View Finance Director and Interim Town Manager Lee Brubaker. “I think it’s a good fit for budgeting. I know they have a few projects coming up in the next year that I think my background is very suitable for.
“I’ve already met a number of the staff,” she added. “I just feel it’s a good fit for me and we’ll be able to work well together.”
Vogel currently resides in Las Vegas, but plans to relocate to her home in Ocean View. In her contract, it stipulates that she will relocate within a reasonable distance of the town within three months and that if her relocation is completed within that time period, she will be paid $3,000 for moving expenses.
“We did want her to live close enough so that they had an allegiance toward the town, which we believe [former town manager Conway Gregory] had,” said Sheeran. “We felt it was important that they live close enough to have some feeling of commitment to the town itself.”
Sheeran added that he believes the town is safe from having another unexpected town manager departure in the near future.
“One of the things we found in the process is town managers have an average lifespan of about five years,” explained Vogel. “We figure there’s two reasons for that, one is, they have a top position, so there’s really nowhere to go from there. Once they’ve spent about five years somewhere, they’ve felt they’ve done everything and learned everything they could learn and contributed what they could contribute and were ready to move on.
“The other side of it is that, in a five-year period, councils have entirely turned over and they’re working with people that are not the ones that hired them, and maybe run into some conflicts there,” Sheeran said. “With Dianne, she’s very energetic, so I think she’ll be around for a while.”
Vogel will have a three-year contract with the Town, beginning Sept. 4, with a salary of $72,000 per year. She was hired to be the chief administrative officer of the Town and will participate in the preparation of the budget, as well as encouraging economic development and communicating with residents.
“I’m looking forward to working with council and helping them to achieve the goals that they’ve set for Ocean View. I’m confident that I can do that,” she said.