Konrad steps down as Ocean View town manager
Exactly two weeks after starting in his new position as Ocean View’s town manager, Rick Konrad tendered his resignation to the town council.
“This decision has not been an easy one, since Ocean View has given me a wonderful opportunity; however after a brief time on the job I feel the position is not the best fit for me at this point in my life,” wrote Konrad, in his resignation letter, dated April 27.
“I feel it is in the best interests of the Town for me to make this decision now, rather than later, after future staff changes would make it more difficult to deal with. I wish [to] offer my apologies to the Town Council and the citizens of Ocean View for being unable to continue in this position. I wish all the best to the Town as it moves forward into the future.”
After a four-month search, Ocean View had announced on March 13 that they would be hiring Konrad – who had been serving as the city manager in Fruitland, Md. – from among their pool of 96 applicants for the post.
In Konrad’s resignation letter to Mayor Gordon Wood, he stated that his decision to leave the town was based on his desire to stay close to his family in Salisbury, Md.
“The desire to be close to my family, rather than to be located almost an hour away or to have to commute on a daily basis is a big part of my decision. Making this adjustment has been more difficult than I anticipated,” he said.
Wood, who said that he had spoken to Konrad on April 27, said that he understands Konrad’s decision but was upset by the his departure.
“Rick’s decision, as he stated it, was based upon family considerations. Decisions based on family are difficult to critique, and I will not,” Wood said. “From a personal point of view, I’m both disappointed and upset. It’s hard to criticize decisions based upon family but, but, but... Good work by Bob Lawless, Tom Sheeran and myself were simply wasted.”
In Konrad’s letter, he requested to be released from his three-year employment contract with the Town, which was to pay him $72,000 per year. In his contract, signed on March 14, it states that the contract may be terminated through “mutual agreement of the parties.”
Wood said that nothing had been settled, but that Town Solicitor Dennis Schrader and Konrad’s attorney would talk.
In an open letter dated April 30 and published online, on the Salisbury News blog (http://sbynews.blogspot.com/), Konrad wrote that he had accepted a position with Wicomico County as the head of Purchasing. Konrad had previously worked for the county for seven years, in county and city parks management.
“As my two weeks closed out at my new position, I decided that it was not a good fit for me, and an opportunity presented itself,” he wrote. “Although I am sorry my opportunity in Delaware did not work out, I now get to remain in Salisbury…”
According to Tamara Lee-Brooks, Wicomico County’s public information officer, the position Konrad accepted was open for a period of two weeks, from April 6 through April 20.
She added that Konrad was scheduled to start his new job on May 3 and will be paid an annual salary of $64,779 per year.
According to the county charter, the position’s duties include, “the making of all purchases and contracting for supplies, materials and equipment for any county department or agency to be paid for out of county funds.”
In Konrad’s April 30 letter, he stated that he knew his departure from the Town of Ocean View would not be well received but that he believed it was the best decision for him and the Town.
“There will be some bad press over this, but I know that, in the end, one has to take the path that God leads them on and look out for their family and themselves first and foremost.”
Wood added that Konrad had assured him that his resignation from the Town was based on personal reasons and had nothing to do with the Town.
“I am confident this was personal to him and not the fault of anyone in Ocean View. Those who think clearly about it will agree,” added Wood. “Rick has corresponded with me and made it very clear that it was family and had nothing to do with Ocean View, noting that, ‘nothing of a detrimental nature has occurred in any manner whatsoever, in any way.’ He went on to say, ‘my reception by everyone has been so positive that my decision was even more difficult. In that regard I could not have asked for more from anyone.’”
“We didn’t have a lot of time with him, but he was fine,” added Brubaker. “I was looking forward to working with him. He got along fine with citizens that came in, with council members, with employees. [There was] no problem whatsoever.”
The town council will officially accept Konrad’s resignation at the May 8 town council meeting and is expected to authorize the town manager search committee to resume its efforts to hire a town maanger.
“The Town, of course, will survive. We always do,” said Brubaker. “The impact is I’m back in the seat as town manager and we will be figuring out what to do next. We’ll discuss it more at the next regularly scheduled council meeting. We still have some résumés from before, and I suspect we’ll go back and look at some of the top candidates and determine if any of them are still available. If not, I guess we will start the process all over again.”
Although Konrad’s departure was a surprise to the Town, officials said they are confident that the Town will continue to move forward and find another town manager.
“This was an absolute surprise. There was no indication of it,” Wood said. “As of Friday morning, he and I talked about the location of the home he was going to move to, which was in Clarksville.”
“It was a surprise,” added Finance Director Lee Brubaker, who will resume town manager duties in the interim. “We’ll just keep moving forward.’
Konrad could not be reached for comment prior to Coastal Point’s press deadline.