On Tuesday, Nov. 6, the voters of the Town of Ocean City will have an important charter amendment referendum question to consider.
It is whether to add binding interest arbitration to the current collective bargaining agreement between the mayor and City Council and representatives of the Career Firefighters Paramedics Association, IAFF 4269.
I am not going to suggest to the voters whether to vote for or against the ballot question. That is a decision that each voter should make.
However, I am annoyed that our elected mayor and council have decided unanimously to send a letter to all Ocean City voters encouraging them to vote against the ballot question.
I do not believe that taxpayer money should be spent to persuade the public to vote for or against any specific ballot question.
That is an individual choice. Sure, elected representatives are free to express their own personal opinion. That is even helpful for the voting public to know the position of their elected officials, in particular those currently seeking elected office.
However, there are plenty of opportunities for those in office to convey and express their individual positions, via the newspapers, TV interviews, statements from their elected seats and so on. But, in my opinion using taxpayer funds for such a mass mailing to voters is wrong.
In October of 1990, the then sitting mayor and City Council majority opposed the ballot initiative of the Fraternal Order of Police.
As I recall, at that time the FOP was just seeking union representation. Binding interest arbitration was not even a part of that ballot question. Seven elected officials signed a letter to the voters dated October 5, 1990, encouraging the public to vote against that referendum question.
As a then City Councilman, I refused to sign that letter. I believed in 1990, as I believe now, that taxpayer funds should not be used to influence the outcome of any candidate or any ballot question before the voters. The voters of Ocean City are intelligent and can make the right decision for the Town. I trust their collective judgment and wisdom.
Vincent dePaul Gisriel, Jr.