(Sept. 26, 2014) As of press time this week, Ocean City had picked up one more candidate for the 2014 election – but still doesn’t have enough to fill all of November’s vacant seats.
Philip Ufholz, a retired attorney who formerly wrote tax law for the federal government, is the third person to file in a race for what are now four open seats on City Council.
“My wife and I love this town, and I’d like to do my part,” Ufholz said. “I saw there were openings…I think I could do a good job based on my experience with politics and the law.
Last week, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas announced that she would not be seeking a third council term on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Council President Lloyd Martin and Councilman Brent Ashley are also up for re-election this cycle. Although both have yet to file, the local political establishment is clearly operating under the assumption that both will indeed win another four years in their seats.
Additionally, although his seat would not normally be open until 2016, Councilman Joe Mitrecic will be leaving in November to take Ocean City’s uncontested seat on the Worcester County Commissioners. Per the city’s charter, the fourth-place vote-getter in the upcoming election will fill the vacant two years of Mitrecic’s term.
Since the Mayor’s term is only two years, Mayor Rick Meehan will also be up for re-election. Although he has not yet filed, he currently faces no opposition.
Alongside candidates Tony DeLuca and Chris Rudolf, Ufholz is the third non-incumbent candidate currently in running.
An Ocean City resident since 2001, Ufholz retired from a career as a trial and tax attorney that saw him spend 12 years writing tax legislation for the Senate Finance Committee. He also worked directly for Jim Baker, who was the Secretary of the Treasury during the second Reagan administration.
Ufholz was also the first president of the condo association at the Sea Terrace on 88th Street, where he has owned a unit since 1975. During the economic slump of the late 70s and early 80s, Ufholz negotiated “the biggest settlement up through that point” with banks who had taken over unfinished condo projects from bankrupt developers.
“The banks took over and finished some of the builds. They hired contractors and didn’t pay them very much, so as you can imagine the construction was very slipshod,” Ufholz said. “Those of us who had already bought units were basically told to go away. So we sued, and won.”
DeLuca is a former executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken, who retired to live in Ocean City full-time five years ago, after having vacationed and owned property in the resort for most of his life. DeLuca currently serves on the town’s Board of Port Wardens.
Rudolf, who has lived in Ocean City since 2005, is the Flying Team Manager for the Kite Loft as well as a legislative aide to the Maryland Senate’s Republican caucus. Rudolf serves an alternate member for the town’s Board of Zoning Appeals.