New councilmen sworn in; pledge to make OC the best

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OCEAN CITY — With a theme of making Ocean City the best it could be, four new city councilmen were sworn in Sunday, July 1 during an inauguration ceremony at the Music Pier.

Mike DeVlieger, Antwan McClellan, Tony Wilson and Pete Guinosso took their oaths as the city’s 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Ward representatives, respectively, during a ceremony and reorganization meeting that lasted less than an hour.

Addressing their remarks to a gathering of about 200 people, which included outgoing council members John Kemenosh, Karen Bergman and Roy Wagner, plus other county and city officials, the four men struck similar chords in promising to do their best to continue Ocean City’s reputation as America’s Greatest Family Resort.

All thanked family, friends, campaign advisers and the voters, with DeVlieger also wishing a happy birthday to the oldest of his nine siblings; McClellan singling out “the Lord and my savior, Jesus Christ” for his victory; Wilson quoting a then-19-year-old college sophomore in his opening remarks as to why he should strive for success; and Guinosso ribbing a friend from second grade for looking older than he, and his wife, Cathy, for “driving me crazy.”

“To the citizens who voted for me, you will have my gratitude and hard work for the next four years,” DeVlieger vowed.

He credited his large family with teaching him that people can “disagree yet still love one another” and said he will focus on “improving communication between the extraordinary groups in town,” striking a balance between talking so much that people tune him out and talking so little it appears he has nothing to say.

“I want to see Council Chambers packed with folks who want to get something done, not just people who are upset about something,” DeVlieger said.

Both he and Guinosso proposed holding monthly ward meetings to address citizen concerns before they become issues, with Guinosso announcing his first scheduled meeting for 10 a.m. Saturday, July 7, at Our Lady of Good Counsel hall, 40th and West.

In thanking his supporters, McClellan, who had the largest contingent at the inauguration, called his mother, Cola, “my rock,” before saying, “The real journey begins for me” and that he was “filled with the spirit of service.” His key points, he said, were helping the downtown and the boardwalk businesses thrive on a year-round basis and bringing single families back to Ocean City.

“I will represent you and I won’t let you down,” he promised.

Wilson opened his remarks by reading “The Paradoxical Commandments,” written in 1968 by Kent M. Keith, whose website describes him as “a dynamic speaker and writer who has made it his mission to help people find personal meaning in a crazy world.”

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.”

Wilson said the words first struck him as harsh, but mirrored many of his feelings about his approach to serving his first full term on council. He further spoke of childhood memories growing up on the island and said, “I look forward to spirited yet respectful debates on making Ocean City the best it can be.”

Guinosso thanked the voters for the confidence they have placed in him by electing him, and said he is in the best condition of his life from door-to-door campaigning and climbing steps because “it seems everybody in the 4th Ward lives on the second floor.”

“I pledge to create a better Ocean City,” he said, mentioning infrastructure, flooding and drainage as his top concerns, in addition to caring for the city’s large senior citizen population. Guinosso also said he would push for more transparency in the administration.

“You are the owners of this government,” he said. “We need to do a better job relating to you.”

The ceremony concluded with a reorganization meeting in which at-large Councilman Michael Allegretto was re-elected council president; Wilson elected vice president; and council approved 7-0 all resolutions on the agenda. Guinosso was appointed a member of the aviation advisory board; McClellan a member of the planning board; Allegretto a member of both the tourism development commission and the Business and Neighborhood Development Association; and DeVlieger the liaison to the utility advisory commission.

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