Ocean Shores City Council appoints new mayor

Mayor Pro Tempore Jon Martin was selected by the Ocean Shores City Council to serve as mayor at the Monday, Nov. 22, meeting by a unanimous vote.

The position was left vacant after the death of Mayor Crystal Dingler earlier this month. Martin will serve as Mayor of Ocean Shores until the end of Dingler’s term in 2023.

The City Council had 90 days to select a new mayor after the vacancy. While Martin wasn’t surprised by the fast movement of the council to fill the position, he does expect there to be a learning curve to his new role.

“I am very humble to be selected. I don’t know what I don’t know yet, but I have all the faith that my fellow council members will help me, along with the staff that Crystal appointed. She set the city up to be a success,” said Martin.

He hopes to honor Dingler’s legacy and the direction she steered the city in, while preparing for some of the more controversial issues facing the council in the future.

Martin is the owner of Martin Bruni Liquor and has served as a member of the Ocean Shores City Council for six years. The motion to appoint Martin was put forth by Councilwoman Susan Conniry, who called for experienced leadership as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

Councilman Bob Peterson was selected to serve as Mayor Pro Tempore after Martin’s appointment, a position that he will hold until the end of the 2021 session. Both Martin and Peterson were sworn into their new roles Monday night at the Ocean Shores Convention Center.

Martin’s appointment to mayor will leave a city council position open. The vacancy will be announced at the Dec. 13 meeting, and a second time in the beginning of January 2022. The application will be made available on the city of Ocean Shores website. Candidates will be interviewed by the council and selected by 2022 council members in the final January meeting.

Other council business included amendments to the 2021-22 budget. The council unanimously approved the inclusion of one additional FTE firefighter out of the fund for 2022 after a motion from Councilman Eric Noble. They also approved a $30,000 independent ambulance study that will provide rates and staffing recommendations valid for the next five years.

Captain Corey Kuhl of the Ocean Shores Fire Department commented on the need for operational staffing before administrative roles are filled. The council voted to approve the Assistant Chief position despite Kuhl’s recommendations.

Other budgetary concerns included the storm drain rates and charges. Mayor Martin promised to follow up on the ongoing controversy around semi-permanent outdoor structures and their status once emergency COVID protocols are limited.

“My goal as mayor is to get these things that are hanging out there and move forward,” he said.

A celebration of life for late Mayor Dingler will occur Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, at 2:30 p.m. in the Ocean Shores Convention Center.