OCEAN CITY -- Ed Price answered all the questions at Monday night’s mayoral debate.
And although it would be correct to say incumbent Jay Gillian didn’t answer any, it wouldn’t be fair because Gillian chose not to participate in the event.
The forum, co-sponsored by Fairness in Taxes and the Ocean City Sentinel Ledger newspaper, was the first of five events scheduled for the two mayoral candidates and five at-large council candidates in the nonpartisan May 13 election.
As the only candidate participating in the event, Price had no choice but to answer every query posed to him. About 45 minutes into the Q&A, held at the Ocean City Free Public Library before an audience of about 35 residents, Price commented on the rapid-fire style of his questioners, took a slug of water and continued on.
Following a three-minute opening statement, in which he shared his vision for America’s Greatest Family Resort and his campaign platform -- FACTS: Fairness, Accountability, Communication, Transparency and Sensibility -- Price answered questions that ranged from beach replenishment to public safety to prioritizing the city’s needs. He answered all but the hypothetical questions, sidestepping them by saying there was too little known about the proposed scenarios and no way of predicting how he would react in those situations.
For the most part, Price avoided criticizing the current administration, although he did answer a question about personnel decisions by saying, “I don’t believe the qualifications for getting a job in Ocean City are that you graduate from Ocean City High School.” In many instances, instead of taking a negative tone, Price repeatedly voiced his campaign slogan, “We can do better.”
He mostly chose to focus on actions that will move the city forward, and emphasized that as mayor, he would listen to everyone and balance the needs of residents, second homeowners and tourists equally.
“The purpose of government is taking in what everyone says and trying to come to a consensus,” he said.
Ocean City, he said, is a city that cannot afford any longer to live on its beauty and reputation alone, and needs to spend the taxpayers’ money wisely. Beach replenishment in the city’s south end would have been addressed sooner under his leadership, he said, because he would have taken a proactive approach in working with state and federal officials.
Price also faulted the manner in which the city has traditionally approached infrastructure maintenance, saying lack of planning causes the administration to deal with a crisis situation every five to seven years. He extolled a business model of Concept, Design, Fund and Implement, saying those four tenets are necessary for any project to succeed.
This is Price’s second bid for elected office. He lost the 4th Ward council seat by 36 votes in 2012.