Town manager's departure leaves questions


I’m a fairly laid-back guy, but there are a few things in life that can regularly cause me to rub the top of my head in frustration, let out a huge sigh and mentally count to 10 as I try to find my inner calm.
Coastal Point •  Submitted

My beloved Baltimore Orioles, for instance, annually tease me this time of year with solid play on the field, only to ultimately succumb to their annual “June swoon” and slip away into obscurity. Their football-playing friends down the road, the Ravens, can also work me into a lather with a horrible interception, dropped pass or missed field goal at the worst of times.

Oh, there are things outside the world of sports that can also make me crazy. Without going into much detail, we can include in that list my dogs only sneezing when they are a quarter-inch away from my face, people with small hands and, well, Ocean View politics.

You see, anything that happens in the town gets an immediate reaction from the two distinct factions at play, and the result is a town that is often the subject of ridicule by others. I have a friend who lives in Wilmington, and when he found out I worked in Ocean View he just laughed and asked if it was really as crazy as people have told him it is.

Yes. Yes, it can be exactly that crazy.

For instance, let’s take a look at what happened earlier this week. After a controversial end to the Ocean View town manager career of Conway Gregory, town officials went about the process of finding a new town manager. They formed a committee, decided what they were looking for in a candidate and began conducting interviews to fill that all-important position.

After a four-month search involving 96 applicants, they eventually decided that Rick Konrad, the former city manager in Fruitland, Md., would be the man to lead the town into the future. They reached agreement with him on March 13, and he settled into his new position on April 16. On Friday, April 27, Konrad submitted his letter of resignation to the Ocean View Town Council.

In that letter, obtained by the Coastal Point earlier this week, Konrad explained that he wanted to be closer to his family, who lived about an hour away, and he wanted to make a clean break now to make it easier on the town to move forward.

We immediately began to receive calls from people in town who were convinced Konrad made his abrupt departure because (a) he was being pushed out by Ocean View Police Chief Ken McLaughlin, or (b) he was pushed out by those who are against McLaughlin.

In a post on the popular blog sbynews.blogspot.com on Monday, April 30, Konrad announced that he was taking a job with Wicomico County (Md.) as the head of purchasing, and that, “Worrying about what some writer or blogger says means very little to me and I am ever thankful to my family and friends for their support and love.”

I’m glad you’re not worried, Mr. Konrad ...

I also hope that you are planning to spend the rest of your working career in your new position, because it would take a tremendous leap of faith for anybody who has Google on their computer to trust that you will fulfill the terms of your next contract after this. We make sacrifices for our families, I get that. Your sacrifice here would be your reputation for anybody who only knows you through your brief Ocean View tenure. If that is worth it, I truly do wish you the best. I don’t know the specifics of your personal life, and it’s not my concern. If this is truly in the best interests of you and your family, I respect that.

But Ocean View Mayor Gordon Wood said that on the morning of April 27, you and he were discussing the new home in Clarksville you were moving into soon. That afternoon, you jumped ship. Best of luck in your future endeavors, Mr. Konrad. You left a mess in your wake.