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Gehrig, DeLuca seek return, another Knight joins Buas, Hagan, Eastman in contest

(Oct. 9, 2020) The paperwork is in — four new faces seek a council seat, two incumbents drop out and Mayor Rick Meehan will go unopposed for this year’s Ocean City municipal election. 

The election will take place on Nov. 3 at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

The terms of Mayor Rick Meehan and Councilmembers Dennis Dare, Tony DeLuca, John Gehrig and Mary Knight are expiring this election cycle, and the candidate filing deadline was Tuesday.

Going on the official ballot is Meehan running for mayor and council candidates, DeLuca, Gehrig, Peter Buas, Dan Hagan, Nicholas Eastman and Frank Knight, who is married to Councilwoman Knight. 

Not turning in paperwork required to seek reelection were councilman and former city manager Dennis Dare, and Councilwoman Mary Knight.

Dare and Mary Knight have chosen to relinquish their seats on the council. 

“After 38 years of service to the Town of Ocean City, I have decided not to seek re-election to the City Council,” Dare said in a Facebook post. “Since 1982, I have served as city engineer, city manager and city council member. It is with a degree of sadness that I step down.” 

As his post said, Dare’s service began in 1982 when he served as the city engineer. 

During this time, the city began its first beach replenishment project, rebuilt the Boardwalk after Hurricane Gloria, designed and built Northside Park on 125th Street and established the need to expand and renovate the convention center. 

Then, from 1990 to 2011 he took on the role of city manager, during which the city built the Public Safety Building on 65th Street and centralized the public works department, his post said. 

His career as city manager was cut short in 2011 after he was forced to retire by a four to three council vote, following allegations of insubordination, but he bounced back and won a council seat the following year with huge support. 

“The true credit for 38 years of success belongs to many dedicated city employees working 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to make us a truly world-class family resort,” he said. 

Dare told Ocean City Today that he had been content holding a minority view, but became frustrated over the last several years dealing with  a majority that consistently saw issues from a different perspective. 

“It was privilege and obviously I appreciated the opportunity to have served the community,” Dare said. “It was a pleasure.” 

Knight, who is currently council secretary, said she had been musing over the decision for the last four years. 

“There are other things I want to pursue and other opportunities I want to explore,” she told Ocean City Today. 

Knight described herself as someone who puts 100 percent into a responsibility, and once she could no longer do so for the council she felt it necessary to step down. 

“I loved it and enjoyed almost every single second of these last 14 years,” Knight said of her tenure. 

Knight joined the council after Meehan stepped down in order to take up the mantel of mayor back in 2006 and took over his remaining two years. 

“My first 18 months, I was pretty quiet and just tried to learn and understand,” she recalled. 

Of her work, Knight said she was proud of being one of the councilmembers to push for an increase in room tax during the 2008 recession. 

Doing so allowed the city to increase its advertising budget and market itself during a time when competitors were shuttering in, she recalled. 

Knight, who is also a member of the Ocean City Tourism Commission, said she was proud of her work in tourism and felt as if she made a difference. 

 “I want to thank all of the constituents for voting for me and supporting me,” Knight said. “It’s been a true blessing to serve the people of Ocean City.”

Josh covers everything Ocean City government and crime. He graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in French and Journalism.

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