After the abrupt end to Ocean City Manager Dennis Dare’s 29-year tenure with the resort, City Hall is still reportedly shaken and trying to find clarity and is yearning for the marching orders for this so-called new direction the council majority has set in motion.

Reports coming from inside City Hall this week say that Dare has moved his belongings out of his office and will be turning in his city issued vehicle in the next few days after he reluctantly accepted the council majority’s severance package which included his official resignation, and in return, he gets his 30-year pension, retirement and pay through at the very least, the end of 2011.

Dare remains silent as far as public comment goes as of this week, but insiders at City Hall say the proverbial page has turned and Dare’s reign is officially over, with Mayor Rick Meehan assuming the duties of the City Manager until a new one is hired.

Meehan, who has now been essentially given more power than he’s ever had before as a result of this move, said this week he has dived right in to his new duties as City Manager.

“I’ve been meeting with the department heads and telling them that we will continue to do the good things we’ve been doing for the town of Ocean City, and I’m trying to juggle all the duties I’ve been given with this move, along with the duties I already have as Mayor”, said Meehan, “it’s going to be a tough transition, but one that I am determined to enact smoothly.”

The council majority, made up of Council President Jim Hall, and councilmembers Joe Hall, Brent Ashley, and Margaret Pillas have remained quiet this week, all but dodging all questions pertaining to motive for this swift move to oust the town’s essential CEO.  On one hand, they claim the town needs a “new management direction” and some reports have claimed that a few of the council majority have resorted to damage control, making phone calls to constituents citing reasons for the move to remove Dare from his position.

But, this move has not come without a backlash, as citizens in opposition of this move have banded together on the social networking site, Facebook, to contest this move and push the council for answers, most notably, a motive.

“Our main objective is to find out what is their new direction”, said Joe Groves, spokesperson for the Citizens for the Preservation of the Town of Ocean City, “I’ve met with both sides, and we are going to push for a direction, and we deserve a direction.  I’ve been told by the new majority that they don’t know what that new direction is yet, and it’s very sad.  Our town council has become like our national government: you are either on this side, or that side.  There’s no in between anymore, and that’s not how government should be operated.”

Some have speculated that there could be some sort of voter repeal petition circulated throughout the resort, while others say that this move will at the very least bring a much larger percentage of registered town voters to the polls in 13 months time, which would most certainly be a vast improvement of the record low voter numbers that turned out at the last two consecutive elections.

But for the council majority that ran on a platform of government transparency and full public disclosure, citizens like Groves are vehemently expressing their disdain for the alleged back-room politicking and swift broad-sword changes that have rocked the resort in the last 10 days.

“There’s such a wide ranging impact (to this move) and it just puts such a shadow on our town”, said Buck Mann, former Ocean City Councilman and President of Mann Properties, “I’m embarrassed for our town.”

The council minority on the other hand, comprised of Doug Cymek, Lloyd Martin, and Mary Knight have taken to urging the citizens to unite in ways similar to the Preservationist’s group, as they say they feel as much in the dark about the council majority’s new direction, as the citizens do.

And motive for Dare’s ousting continues to be questioned, with Cymek posing the question about performance of the town of Ocean City during Dare’s regime on his Facebook page this week.

“Just  wanted to keep everyone updated on how OC is doing this summer as far as Food and Room Tax revenues. For July 2011, ROOM TAX has INCREASED 4.52% over July 2010 and is 14.72% up over July 2009. Also for July 2011, FOOD TAX has INCREASED 11.02% over what was in July 2010 and 11.07% over what was in July 2009”, wrote Cymek.

For now, the council majority seems content with taking their lumps in the realm of public opinion and remaining silent as they allegedly are declining almost every interview on the Dare situation that is requested by local media outlets.  Questions continue to swirl throughout the resort as to where the council majority’s direction is coming from, as some have speculated that it’s from a prosperous and high ranking member of the private sector.

Meehan says City Hall is regrouping from the shock of Dare’s removal from power, and is in the process of bouncing back towards business as usual.

But, the reality of it is this: Dennis Dare is seemingly out, and a new dawn has broken in Ocean City, but the uncertainty of the looming forecast is still very much in question.

Former Council President Joe Mitrecic broke his public silence this week, saying that he believes the council’s recent move has divided the town and the local government in ways he’s never seen before.

“What’s really sad about this is that we are talking about sides in the town of Ocean City, said Mitrecic, “there’s a group of people in this town that want it to go backwards, and if you aren’t constantly moving forward in this day and age, you are going backwards.  It’s moving forward from there, (Ocean City) is a premiere resort in the United States of America.”