printed 09/20/2019


The passing of Guy Ayres the city solicitor of Ocean City and in government for 37 years underscores the end of an era. It reminds us that life is in constant change.

That although we often perceive that our days are the same, they are not, every day is different, ever changing to the unending parade of time.

The so called “good-old-boys” that have governed the town are subject to the same parade of time that we all are.

Guy Ayres will be indelibly enshrined in the memories of many in government, or observers of government on the Eastern Shore, if not throughout the state of Maryland.

Relegating him to memory and marking the end of an era doesn’t diminish his service, yet with every end there is the seed of a beginning.

Although often in disagreement with Guy, I respected his intensity and knowledge, always for the Town of Ocean City which through him was reflected in public service by all in leadership during his generation.

I for one will certainly not forget him. To his family I am sorry for your loss. To the community he will be remembered for a style of governance that will prove irreplaceable.

After a period of remembrance and mourning the Town will soon set out to find a new city solicitor and I would like to give some thoughts on what I hope will be considered in their search to fill Guy Ayres’ shoes.

A city solicitor can best serve if they are paid an annual salary and dedicated to the position. Moving forward, I would hope the new city solicitor would be hired on the same basis as the city manager and not paid on a service-rendered basis.

In Annapolis, the city solicitor is on the payroll and makes about $150,000 salary a year. He is not allowed to perform services outside of his job nor is he paid piecemeal for work performed and the reason is simple.

To continue paying any city solicitor piecemeal may put their income stream in conflict with their duty to the Town of Ocean City.

In a private enterprise, we expect to be paid more for working more. The more widgets one sells, the more they make, however. a city solicitor is able to better serve with a steady income stream.

It might not be in the town’s interests to pass more ordinances or participate in more litigation.

A city solicitor should not be penalized by being paid less for determining not to recommend an ordinance or not to embark in litigation, nor should he or she be rewarded more by the number of ordinances written in a year particularly if they are not needed.

Although we spent considerably more than $150,000 a year to Guy’s law firm, they give us a discount and provide extensive services.

It never was about the expense for me, but always about aligning human interest in a manner that might best serve the town and in the future, I would hope that the new city solicitor would be a salaried employee of the Town of Ocean City.

Tony Christ

Ocean City

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