OCEAN CITY — The two-way traffic between Ocean City and Florida in terms of new department heads continued this week when town officials announced a Fort Pierce planning director has been tapped to fill the resort’s Planning and Community Development Director vacancy.
After conducting a national search, resulting in dozens of qualified candidates, including a couple from within the ranks, the town this week announced Matthew Margotta, current planning director for Fort Pierce, Fla., has been named the resort’s new director of Planning and Community Development. The position became vacant in September when Jesse Houston retired.
Margotta’s appointment continues a recent trend of department head changes between Ocean City and Florida. Margotta follows City Manager David Recor from Fort Pierce to Ocean City.
Heading the other way down Route 95 to Florida is Ocean City Police Chief Bernadette DiPino, who was named chief of police for Sarasota earlier this fall. Former Ocean City Convention Center director Rick Hamilton left his post in the resort to accept a similar job with the city of Tampa in 2011.
In Ocean City, Margotta will oversee both the planning and zoning divisions in the resort. The planning division, along with the planning commission, is responsible for preparing and maintaining the town’s comprehensive plan. The zoning division administers and enforces the town’s zoning regulations including reviewing development plans for code compliance.
Margotta comes to Ocean City from Fort Pierce, where he has served as planning director since 2006. Before his stint in Fort Pierce, Margotta served as senior planner for the town of Bluffton and Hilton Head in South Carolina. Margotta is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and is also a major in the U.S. Army Reserves with 25 years of service.
Recor, who is clearly familiar with Margotta through their service to Fort Pierce, praised the new hire for the experience he brings to the table at a critical juncture for the resort.
“I am very pleased to welcome Matthew to the Planning and Community Development Director position,” he said this week. “His knowledge, experience and leadership will be a great asset to the citizens in the community as well as the future of Ocean City.”
Margotta, who begins on Jan. 7, said he is excited for the opportunity to participate in the town’s planning efforts.
“I look forward to working closely with the Mayor and Council, in addition to the City Manager, the staff and the various boards and commissions to coordinate Ocean City’s strategic and comprehensive plan,” he said.