Dewey Beach Town Manager Marc Appelbaum is taking his office to the beach.
In an effort to make himself more available to the town's residents, businesses and visitors, Appelbaum will be introducing an outreach program designed to increasing his visibility.
“I would love to hear from more people. The more I talk with citizens, the better job I can do,” said Appelbaum. “I'm going to park myself on a bench on a set schedule, three hours a day, twice a week. I'll be in shorts and a T-shirt.”
As part of his plan, said Appelbaum, he will reach out to all the town's condo associations, visit all the businesses and spend more time on the beach talking with residents and visitors.
A lot of people who might what to talk with the town manager about a problem don't want to set up an appointment, think stopping by town hall would be an inconvenience or don't want to sit through a three-hour long commissioners meeting, said Appelbaum on why he's starting this program.
“People think they're interrupting me or taking me away from critical work, but they're not. I'm happy to talk with anyone at anytime,” he said.
The program is intended to be a casual, open-door scenerio. People will be able voice their opinions on what's working for the town or what's going wrong, said Appelbaum.
Diane Hanson, Dewey Beach mayor, said she's in favor of the plan. She said she had been thinking about a similar idea – having morning coffee sessions like some local politicians do – but likes the idea of being available on the beach more.
“Setting up on the beach is even better,” she said. “The more we improve communication, the better things are going to be.”
Appelbaum said the idea for the program came to him after repeatedly being approached by friends and neighbors during regular walks on the beach.
“I just thought it would be a neat way to communicate with the people,” he said.
Hanson said being more available to the people of Dewey will help identify issues before they become problems and increase the town's service level.
“I think it's a great idea. This gives them a way to give input at their convenience,” she said. “A lot of good ideas come from the citizens.”
Appelbaum said he didn't have the exact times figured out, but was expecting the new program to begin in the next two weeks and it would run for the month of June. If it's productive, he said, he'll continue it through the summer.
Times and location will be posted on the town's website (www.townofdeweybeach.com), he said.