Surely, Jon Martin would have been forgiven if he took a “dip my toe in it” approach to his new job. After all, OS City Council appointed him mayor just weeks after the unexpected passing of Crystal Dingler, who ran the city for nearly a decade. On top of that, Martin took over Thanksgiving week, with the December holidays and end-of-year wrap ups looming. Stacking another layer on that, Martin is a wildly busy man, running three McDonald’s restaurants and being a Grays Harbor PUD commissioner.
Instead of a take-it-slow approach, a North Beach News review of Martin’s emails show he hit the sand running, so to speak. His top priorities, based on volume of emails, appeared to be: citizen input, tsunami tower planning, the Ocean Pours outdoor tent controversy, public works projects (including the clearing of the flooded Oyehut ditch) and dealing with ongoing issues, such as “nuisance properties” on Rain Street.
Martin’s commitment to hearing and interacting with the public was almost instantly displayed with his popular “city chat” informal meetings, open to all.
Behind the scenes, Martin was also answering concerns, like the woman who emailed she was feeling “hopeless” after Susan Conniry lost her council seat and Rich Hartman won another council race. “As if things have not been one-sided enough, you are adding Hartman and eliminating Susan. That leaves me feeling very hopeless and helpless with zero hope for our future or for being a part of it,” the woman emailed.
Marin’s response: “I appreciate you email and thoughts. I am in agreement we do need to work together and I think it can be doable. I very much understand your views and support for Susan. I do not have the same view that Rich being on the Council gives you no hope. There are many very important projects and policies that this Council will work on. Some I hope you will support and other maybe not, each Council member and myself have their own priorities and thoughts and ways to communicate. I am optimistic and always look forward to hearing peoples thoughts.”
“Hello Council, Kathryn found the article on Mayor’s replacement from MRSC and Sara pulled some additional information on what the law is. I am not implying with the prior email or this any particular action needs to be taken. It is up to the Council as a whole to decide what and when we fill the Mayor’s position. Scott is doing well in leading the City giving the Council additional time to decide what our next step is.”
One of his first emails, sent to all city employees Nov. 23, hours after his appointment:
He praised the city workers as “precious to the city,” and added, “I’d love to hear your ideas on how City can improve – providing better service, enhancing teamwork, and being more positive, cost-effective, efficient, and communicating with Staff and citizens.”
Last evening, I thank you for the honor of being sworn in as Mayor of Ocean Shores. I am humbled to be able to work each of you. It has been a difficult time since the Mayor’s passing, and the job each of you has done is very much appreciated.
Crystal was a strong force and led our City through difficult times dealing with financial difficulties, Covid, divisions within our City, tremendous growth, and challenges that all small rural cities have. Thankfully, as a city, we are weathering the storm well together. At times our Council does disagree with each other which I believe is good and what makes us better when
discussion can occur. Although I have been on the council for six years, I do not know all the Mayor and staff have worked on. I do not know all the answers and will work hard on working with the Council to continue the work the Citizens have entrusted to do.
I do hope to be able to meet each of you and listen to your thoughts and ideas. Many of the projects that Crystal worked so hard on are about to get started.
I’d love to hear your ideas on how City can improve – providing better service, enhancing teamwork, and being more positive, cost-effective, efficient, and communicating with Staff and citizens. We still have some restrictions because of COVID, and I am very respectful of that– but I’m available for some visiting (social distance), in my office (not sure where that is
yet), or by phone or email.”
“Mr. Ward sent me his application. I am forwarding it on to you,” Hartman wrote.
At the end of October, a month before he would become mayor, Martin as a city council member let his position on the Fire Department be known in an email response:
Martin wrote. “You may disagree with my position. My thoughts are I am in agreement with the Fire Department it does need more people and “Boots on the Ground” as the population of Ocean Shores has grown and the issues of our local Hospitals have made calls longer there is a great need.
I support the Chiefs request as our Department has grown the Span of Control of the Fire Chief has grown also without any additional support. The future Mayor of Ocean Shores will be a part time Mayor and having a strong Department Structure will be important. The Fire Department is one of our largest Departments, also unfortunately impacted City Finances
with a costly Lawsuit adding oversight to the Department I feel is more important then ever.
Most of our Large Departments have a Second in Command except the Fire Department.
The Assistant Fire Chief would assist with policies and procedures, improves the span of control, creates a position to be a stepping stone to Fire Chief similar to what occurred when our former Police Chief retired. A Assistant Fire Chief works five days a week and a Fire Fighter because of scheduling only works 10 days a month. The Assistant Chief gives more day to day coverage.
There is a need to hire additional Fire Fighters and review staffing levels and look at our Funding. I support our Fire Department but on this one I do not Support the Unions Position and will vote yes on Funding the Assistant Fire Chief..”
I am still in favor of the South Fire Station, adding additional positions, looking at reviewing the Ambulance Utility Study and encouraging having Study Sessions on creating a plan to address these issues.
Of course these are my own thought not reflective of the City or Council.”
On Dec. 29, Martin emailed Maximilian Dixon, the Earthquake Program Manager for the Washington State Military Department’s Emergency Management Division:
I worked with you on the Tsunami Road Shores in Ocean Shores. I was a Council member and I am now the Mayor of Ocean Shores. The City was awarded the Grant and we are in the process of moving forward. Unfortunately we are being told there is about a 2 million dollar increase in cost before we have even started. Originally when the Council approved this it was very split and the
Citizens are very split the increase of cost will make it harder to move forward.
We are looking at options of finding more funding, scaling down the size or abandoning the project which I am not in favor of. As this would be the third structure built in Grays Harbor making it affordable to small cities will be important to move forward.
I am hoping you can direct me to someone who may give us some advice on what to do.”
On Dec. 14, Martin responded to a citizen who emailed about Ocean Pours:
I do agree it does seem lately there has been discussion on Ocean Pours. Our current code only allow this type of structure to be temporary. The former Mayor used an Executive Order to allow it during Covid. There is major difference in having a Structure that is
Permanent versus Temporary such as inspections, wiring, signage, accessibility. Since becoming Mayor three weeks ago I have asked my staff to pull the documentation of permitting consulted with the City Attorney who have told me changing a Building Code will impact the future structures and not following our current procedures could result with legal action against the city.
I currently am not planning to change the Executive order and hope to meet with the Owners of Ocean Pours to figure out what our options are. I am aware it seems like a lot ofenergy for a simple solution but do not want to put the City in Jeopardy and it becomes much more complicated when a structure becomes permanent.
I do appreciate you thoughts and comments and do also understand your frustration.”
City Chats Highlights:
several topics. We will be doing installments of information from the
Emergency Vs. Non-Emergency Reporting
Examples: If someone needs emergency medical attention or Crimes in
Examples: If you need police assistance where an urgent response is not
needed (Crimes that occurred hours or days ago, crimes where there is no
complaints, camping violations, etc.)
Reporting Crimes to the Police Departments Desk Personnel
• The Police Department front desk personnel are not commissioned
officers or trained dispatch operators. If a crime needs to be reported,
Grays Harbor County Dispatch.
Reporting Crimes After Hours at the Police Station
• If a citizen needs to report a crime at the Police Departments location
and the lobby is closed, there is a phone station outside that connects
If You See a Crime or Medical Emergency in Progress Report It
assume someone is calling the authorities, however that is not always the
case. Other members of the community are assuming the same thing
EMS to the scene faster.
Grays Harbor County Dispatch
This entity dispatches all Police, Fire and EMS calls for all of Grays Harbor
phone calls and prioritize them to responding agencies.
What Information does 911 Need from a Caller?
phone number you are calling from and the nature of your emergency.
you questions pertaining to the emergency and may give pre-arrival
instructions in the case of a medical emergency.
• In circumstances where a caller is worried about retaliation, request to