OCEAN CITY – Although attempts have been made to persuade John Franklin Adkins to drop out of the race for City Council, he has declared that he is in it for the long run, saying it is time for a change on the council.
Adkins’ choice to run for elected office goes back to a Mayor and City Council meeting almost two years ago when the majority was voting a list of ordinances through on second reading to change city employees’ benefits.
It wasn’t the council majority’s decision to change new employees’ benefits in order to save in costs that prompted Adkins decide to get involved, but it was that it prevented five police cadets from entering into the police academy at Wor-Wic Community College until the final decisions were made on the town’s retirement system.
“They had already spent $50,000 on background checks … so those in the majority threw away $50,000 of the taxpayer’s money and I could not get over that,” he said.
Adkins did not agree with how the majority was operating the changes in city employee benefits and asserted they had not done their homework.
“I believe in doing research and learning,” Adkins said.
For example, before he bought an RV two years ago, for 10 years he attended RV shows in Hershey Park, Pa. and Tampa, Fla. as well as spoke to different manufacturers and visited two factories.
“I researched what was the best one to buy for the money and I bought one but I did the research, and that is the point on the employee’s benefits … what is it going to cost now and what is it going to cost in the future,” he said.
Adkins is tired of the “bickering” between the council majority and minority and it is time for the council to come together on common grounds.
“This is a small town with a small population and they need to represent everybody, the people who pay the taxes,” he said.
Adkins goal for the city is to spend money wisely and in the most efficient way.
“This is an economy that depends on the tourists that come to this town,” Adkins said. “I want to see them advertise in places where tourists aren’t coming from.”
Adkins furthered that in his experience of traveling he has gone many places where they ask for your zip code and Ocean City should have a system where it collects and compiles visitor information so that advertising is done in areas where the least amount of visitors is coming from.
Adkins supports the general employees’ current effort to gain collective bargaining rights and plans to vote for the referendum on the ballot in November.
“I don’t blame them,” he said, referring to the time when the council majority forced former City Manager Dennis Dare to resign and the only protection he had was a contract. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Adkins has lived in Ocean City since 1987 and worked out in the field for Delmarva Power for 30 years as well as drove a Ocean City municipal bus for seven years.
Adkins has sent the council a letter suggesting allowing municipal buses to run for free to the polls at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center on Election Day to make it more convenient for residents to come out and vote. At the conclusion of last week’s Mayor and City Council meeting, Council President Jim Hall announced that his suggestion was being looked into.
Adkins now enjoys the retired life and for the last three years he travels to Florida from November to March and lives in Ocean City the rest of the year. If elected, he will return to Ocean City as a full-time resident.
“I am just an average person that got mad with the majority that threw away $50,000,” he said. “I am just a working person, non-politician, I hate politics because most politicians don’t tell you the truth and all they are interested in doing is getting re-elected.”
Adkins is confident that Dare will be elected and incumbents Mary Knight and Doug Cymek will be re-elected but when it comes to himself and the other candidates, “it’s a tossup.”
“If people vote for me, that’s great, if they don’t that’s ok too,” Adkins said as he explained that the most important thing to him is to just have people vote.
As a Vietnam veteran, voting is extremely important to Adkins and since he was discharged from the military in 1970 he hasn’t failed to vote in any election.
“I have one vote and that is my given right,” he said. “I just want people to vote.”
Adkins said he has been approached on multiple occasions to drop out of the race to give the team of four, who are Dare, Knight, Cymek and former Council President Joe Mitrecic, a better chance at being elected.
“Without a doubt, I am not going to drop out,” he said. “I would love to see 2,000 to 3,000 turn out to vote, that would tickle me to death … there is going to be a change in this council, that is a guarantee.”