(Dec. 18, 2020) The mayor and City Council examined bids for tent rentals and a boardwalk installation project at the Cambria Hotel, as well as weighing HR manual updates and vetting a senior employee retention program during its work session on Tuesday.
Two bids for special event tent rentals were receive. These figures included EIS Group at $634,000 and Select Rental at roughly $419,000.
The purchasing and special events departments solicited bids for the equipment rentals, which had been budgeted at $335,000.
A slightly larger number of bids were received for the Cambria Hotel boardwalk installation.
Nine vendors submitted bids: Apex Construction at $146,604, CSI Contracting at $192,378, Murtech Marine Division at $171,417, Commercial Industrial Applications at $287,000, Colossal Contractors at $135,000, AJT Homes at $124,860, JJIDRBCI at $208,000, Harkins Concrete Construction at $159,990 and Rehak’s Contracting at $478,580.
City Engineer Terry McGean said the work was estimated to cost just over $177,000.
Due to concerns over material costs, specifically lumber rates, a stockpile was already acquired.
“We have already procured the material for $29,000,” he said.
McGean said the project is slated to begin in January with 100 days to complete and remain on track for completion by spring.
Human Resources Director Katie Callan presented initial revisions to the town’s HR manual.
Since assuming the HR lead in June, Callan has conducted a comprehensive review of manual details.
“I began looking at it prior to my arrival on June 1,” she said. “It was one of those items I asked for in advance because your HR manual is sort of the backbone.”
Callan said the document was last revised in 2005.
“Best practice would be doing an update to your HR manually annually and then a robust review every 3-5 years,” she said.
Callan said the principal objectives in terms of manual updates include limiting risks to the town while protecting employees, clarifying and simplifying procedures and adopting best practices.
Senior employee retention
City Manager Doug Miller said during the council’s most recent closed session a discussion was held about incentivizing a senior tenured employee currently eligible for retirement to remain on board to complete a project requiring related expertise.
Miller said an unintended outcome of providing long-term staff competitive pay and generous benefits is encouraging early retirement.
“We should be proud that we are a good employer and we take care of our employees, especially when they get to retirement,” he said.
Currently, Ocean City government has 35 employees facing upper pay grade freezes with another 40 within a small percentage of maxing rates.
In select cases, retaining staff members in the midst of completing major projects or initiatives is of vital importance, Miller said.
“Most of the time if a person wants to retire we want that person to use the benefits they’ve earned,” he said. “There are times that we need them to stay.”
Miller said in the past there were only limited instances where employee retention was an issue.
“We’ve only done two times in six years,” he said. “These are few and far in between.”
Miller said he would return with a formal written policy for potential adoption early in 2021.