Authors Posts by Donald Wittkowski

Donald Wittkowski

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Ocean City’s Business Administrator Resigns to Take New Job

Ocean City Business Administrator James Mallon, who oversees the day-to-day operations of the local government as the senior-most official in Mayor Jay Gillian’s administration, is resigning to take a job in the private sector, it was announced Monday. Mallon’s resignation comes less than a week after Gillian swept to a commanding win in the May 8 municipal election to capture his third, four-year term as mayor. With Mallon leaving, Gillian will now reshape the top levels of his administration as he enters his new term...

Ocean City Business People to Take Their Wacky “Plunge” on May...

John Walton is already cranking up the hype machine. With his typical enthusiasm, he’s promising that “thousands and thousands” of spectators and “dozens of paparazzi” will be there on May 25 to take in one of Ocean City’s wackiest annual traditions, the Business Persons Plunge. Entering its 15th year, the spectacle features nattily attired business people blithely marching into the surf to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” to officially “open” the ocean for the summer tourism season during Memorial Day weekend...

Site of Proposed Ocean City Condo-Hotel Hits Market for $30 Million

Prime property that is supposed to be the construction site for a controversial condo-hotel project is now up for sale for $30 million, according to a listing on a real estate website. The proposed Soleil Resort project has languished for more than 10 years, but gained momentum in 2017 when a Superior Court judge ordered the Ocean City Planning Board to approve the development. The developers indicated last year that they hoped to begin construction in 2018. However, no work has started on the property at 11th Street and Ocean Avenue overlooking the beach and Boardwalk. LoopNet, a commercial real estate website, says the nearly two-acre site is on the market for $30 million. The sale listing notes that the property has been approved for 111 condos and has direct access to the Boardwalk...

Ocean City Vacation App Offers Cash-Free Convenience

No cash? No problem. Ocean City is expanding its tourist-friendly vacation app with new features that will eventually give people the convenience of paying for virtually all of their purchases in town on their mobile devices – no cash needed. “We want it to be universal for Ocean City,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. With the approach of the summer tourism season, the Chamber is preparing to make a series of upgrades to the app beginning this month, including the ability for users to buy beach tags and concert tickets on their phones and mobile devices. An annual contest to win a weeklong vacation giveaway in Ocean City from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 is also being promoted on the app at http://win.oceancityvacation.com. Contestants must download the app to be entered in the vacation giveaway...

Council Criticizes Organizer of Ocean City’s Political Debates

Members of City Council on Thursday night called for a new group to take over as the main sponsor of Ocean City’s political debates and forums in the future, saying the current organizer has done a poor job and appears to be biased. Fairness In Taxes, the local government watchdog organization that traditionally sponsors the debates, was strongly criticized for its handling of an April 24 candidates forum that was supposed to feature three Council incumbents who were up for re-election. However, incumbents Keith Hartzell, Karen Bergman and Peter Madden didn’t attend the forum. Bergman and Madden said they never received invitations from FIT, while Hartzell explained that he had an out-of-state commitment and couldn’t make the event...

Mayor Gillian Re-elected in Ocean City; Council Incumbents Win

Mayor Jay Gillian swept to a commanding win Tuesday night over challenger John Flood to capture his third four-year term as Ocean City’s top elected official. Unofficial totals showed Gillian topping Flood by a nearly 2-1 margin in an election marked by a low turnout – about 35 percent – among the city’s 9,226 registered voters. Gillian carried all four of the city’s wards while tallying 2,023 votes. Flood, a former city councilman seeking a political comeback, garnered 1,162 votes, according to results released by the City Clerk’s Office. Incumbent City Council members Keith Hartzell, Karen Bergman and Peter Madden all ran unopposed for their at-large seats. Hartzell had 2,431 votes, Bergman 2,362 and Madden 2,335...

Gillian, Flood Vie For Mayor in Ocean City Election

A bitterly contested mayoral election, overshadowed by allegations of “toilet politics,” will come to a climax when voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose between incumbent Mayor Jay Gillian and challenger John Flood for Ocean City’s top office. The race between Gillian and Flood pits two high-profile, experienced politicians who have been hammering each other with accusations of misconduct in the divisive final weeks of the campaign. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m...

Mayor Jay Gillian Touts Ocean City’s Capital Plan

OCNJDaily.com talked with Mayor Jay Gillian about his focus on Ocean City’s neglected infrastructure over the past eight years. The discussion follows in this question-and-answer format...

Mayoral Candidate John Flood Says Ocean City Has Too Much Debt

City’s capital plan, municipal debt and taxes in the third story published in OCNJDaily.com leading up to the May 8 election. He also describes how he would plan, finance and build major construction projects to ease the tax burden associated with the city’s debt payments. His comments follow in this question-and-answer format...

Gillian, Flood Battle Intensifies in Ocean City Mayor’s Race

Ocean City Mayor Jay Gillian and his opponent, John Flood, traded barbs and new allegations Thursday in an escalation of their campaign attacks just six days before the municipal election. Their increasingly hostile rhetoric included charges by Flood that the construction of a city restroom project was coordinated to benefit a Boardwalk pizza shop owned by Gillian, while the mayor responded that Flood is creating “more fake news.” In a press release, Flood also alleged that the mayor has set up a “secret” email account on a private server to keep communications with his senior staff about city business “out of the public eye.” “The city’s official domain name and emails go to OCNJ.us...