Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Google+ Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Facebook Facebook Google+ Twitter Donegal County Council has backed a motion calling for the abandonment of plans to impose domestic water charges. The issue was raised by Cllr Jack Murray, who moved a lengthy motion condemning the lack of investment in water infrastructure, and stating that the central taxation system is the only equitable way to get people to pay for water.Anything else, he argued, is putting further pressure on people who are already struggling as a result of the recession and cuts in wages and benefits.Cllr Murray says a similar motion is being brought to every local council in the country, and he’s hopeful a clear demand from local councils will prompt Environment Minister Phil Hogan to change his mind……………[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/murry530.mp3[/podcast] Pinterest Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry Twitter By News Highland – June 27, 2011 Donegal Councillors to write to Minister Phil Hogan opposing water charge plan Previous articleCouncil supports Gallagher but formal nomination can’t be made until autumnNext articleCouncillor McBride elected Mayor News Highland WhatsApp WhatsApp Pinterest Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Newsx Adverts
Newsx Adverts RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Facebook Further drop in people receiving PUP in Donegal Previous articleCrawford calls for housing grant reviewNext articleDonegal man on Gaza ship detained by Israeli forces News Highland Pinterest Facebook Twitter Man arrested on suspicion of drugs and criminal property offences in Derry WhatsApp Google+ 365 additional cases of Covid-19 in Republic Donegal County Council to seek funding for A5 linkages By News Highland – June 1, 2010 County Councillors have agreed to seek a meeting with the the Transport ministers on both sides of the border in an attempt to secure funding for Donegal linkages to the new A5 motorway from Derryto Aughnacloy.In response to motions from Councillors Cora Harvey and Mick Quinn on the issue the council has also agreed to seek an urgent meeting with the National Roads Authority.There are concerns that little progress is being made on improving the N15 Ballybofey to Lifford and the N14 Letterkenny to Lifford roads. However Councillors were told that the delay is not from within thecounty but through a lack of funding at a national level.Councillor Mick Quinn says it is important that funding is secured……….[podcast]http://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/000quinn830.mp3[/podcast] Google+ Main Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday May 25th 75 positive cases of Covid confirmed in North Gardai continue to investigate Kilmacrennan fire
News Updates[Default Bail] Madras HC Constitutes DB To Settle Conflicting Views On Applicability Of SC Order Extending Limitation On Section 167(2) CrPC LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK13 May 2020 9:18 AMShare This – xThe Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice AP Sahi has constituted a division bench for answering a reference as to whether the Supreme Court’s order dated March 23 In Re: Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation, for extension of limitation during the lockdown period, is applicable to police investigation under Section 167(2) of the CrPC for default bail. The reference has…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice AP Sahi has constituted a division bench for answering a reference as to whether the Supreme Court’s order dated March 23 In Re: Cognizance For Extension Of Limitation, for extension of limitation during the lockdown period, is applicable to police investigation under Section 167(2) of the CrPC for default bail. The reference has been made pursuant to two conflicting views adopted by two single Judges of the High Court. In an order pronounced on May 8 in “Settu vs The State”, Justice G R Swaminathan had interpreted the SC’s order as applicable only to limitation period for filing cases under the Limitation Act, 1963. He had observed that the order did not touch upon any specific extension of time for completing investigation under Section 167(2). Hence, it was held that once the mandatory period of 60/ 90 days as prescribed under the provision expires, the accused is entitled for default bail. A similar order was also passed by the Uttarakhand High Court, in Vivek Sharma v. State of Uttarkhand, whereby Justice Alok Kumar Verma had held that the SC order for extension of limitation does not mean that the Court had extended the 60 days/ 90 days period of police investigation prescribed under Section 167(2). Taking a contrary view however, in S. Kasi v. State through The Inspector of Police, Justice G. Jayachandran observed that to hold that the SC order is not applicable to the time period for filing final report amounts to “mocking” the Apex Court. He held that the period of limitation for investigation under Sec.167 CrPC would also stand extended, keeping in view the extraordinary situation of the Covid-19. Accordingly, Justice Sahi has stated in the reference that “there are two conflicting opinions arising out of the orders referred to above and in my considered view, since the same is likely to have a direct impact on bail orders to be passed by the Subordinate Judiciary or even by this Court, the matter deserves to be resolved by an authoritative pronouncement.” The reference has been placed for consideration before a Division Bench presided over by Justice PN Prakash at Madurai Bench itself. The reference to be answered that is: “Whether the orders passed by the Apex Court on 23rd March, 2020 and 6th May, 2020 in Suo Motu Writ Petition (Civil) No.3 of 2020 also apply to the proceedings under Sec.167(2) Cr.P.C. and consequently which of the two opinions expressed by the learned single Judges in the case of Settu (supra) and Kasi (supra) lays down the law correctly?” Click Here To Download Order Read Order Next Story
Homepage BannerNews By News Highland – November 28, 2017 DL Debate – 24/05/21 Irish Water warn of email scam Irish Water say they are aware that some customers have received emails purporting to be from Irish Water with the subject line ‘Your Irish Water Account – Action required’.The utility has advised that changes to customers’ personal details will only be updated by phone and customers should always delete emails requesting this information.They are requesting domestic customers who have moved property to contact them by phone on 1850 448 448 to update their details.Irish Water has investigated the email and has requested that this fraudulent site be shut down, they say they are aware that during the refund process in particular that attempts may be made to deceive customers with phishing emails.If you suspect that you’ve responded to a phishing email with personal information from this or any email, take the following steps to minimise any potential damage:- Change the information you’ve revealed e.g. Change any passwords or PINs on the account or service that you think might have been compromised- Contact your bank or the service provider directly- Routinely review your bank and credit card statements for unexplained charges or enquiries that you didn’t initiate- Contact the authorities. The Garda Bureau of Fraud investigation is Ireland’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre.Irish Water wishes to reassure customers that there has been no breach of Irish Water security systems. Customer details on Irish Water’s database are secure and have not been compromised. Important message for people attending LUH’s INR clinic Google+ WhatsApp Google+ Facebook Pinterest Facebook Harps come back to win in Waterford WhatsApp News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24th RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Pinterest Journey home will be easier – Paul Hegarty Previous articleMain Evening News, Sport and Obituaries Tuesday November 28thNext articleListen: West Tyrone MP stresses importance of A5 in the Dail News Highland Twitter Twitter Arranmore progress and potential flagged as population grows
wsfurlan/iStockBy BILL HUTCHINSON, ABC News(NEW WINDSOR, N.Y.) — A yellow school bus collided with a work truck Wednesday morning on a two-lane New York state road, critically injuring three people, including a child, officials said.The crash occurred in New Windsor, Orange County, about 66 miles northeast of New York City, and authorities said at least three of the crash victims were taken to a hospital in critical condition and several others were treated for less serious injuries, according to police.The bus involved in the crash was from the Little Britain Elementary School in New Windsor, according to the Washingtonville Central School District.A preliminary investigation indicates a westbound truck, owned by a local tree-trimming service, crossed over the double yellow line and hit the eastbound school bus head on, the New Windsor Police Department said in a statement.The accident is still under investigation.The crash happened close to 8:30 a.m. on a two-lane section of Route 207, less than five miles from the Little Britain school, police said. Police said the bus slammed into a truck owned by a local tree trimming service.Police said a third vehicle was also involved in the crash.The front end of the school bus was badly damaged and its front windshield shattered, according to a photo from wreck.The photo also appeared to show a trailer from a tree service company leaning against the rear of the bus and a damaged wood-chipping machine lying at the side of the road next to the bus.The cause of the crash is under investigation.New Windsor police said eight children were on the bus and a girl sitting behind the driver had to be extricated from the bus and was among those critically injured. All of the children were taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in nearby Newburgh to be examined, police said, following school protocol and standards practices.The bus driver and the driver of the tree trimming truck, whose names were not immediately released, were also hospitalized in critical condition, police said.Local emergency services and district personnel reported quickly to the scene and all parents have been notified, according to officials.Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said he rushed to the scene.“Horrific scene, young kids,” Neuhaus told ABC New York City station WABC. “School bus accidents are the worst. We’re hopeful that everybody will recover. But it is a horrible, horrible accident, and I’ve seen many in my life. This is probably the worst I’ve seen.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Under scrutinyOn 13 Feb 2001 in Personnel Today Using assessment centres tocherry pick staff is fine if the assessors are up to the job. But with horrorstories aplenty, isn’t it time for a code of practice as well as moreinvolvement from employers? Caroline Horn reportsAssessment centreshave become one of the most popular tools in selecting new recruits, with morethan 30 per cent of companies now believed to use them. They are used to test arange of competencies among a group of candidates – or sometimes individuals –through a series of varied exercises, with candidates monitored and assessed bya number of trained observers. The process gives the candidates a number ofdifferent opportunities to demonstrate their strengths. In this way, a companyhopes it is getting the right person for the job.But what is sometimes forgottenduring the assessments is the candidates themselves. Roy Davis, head ofcommunications for SHL, which develops and provides assessment solutions, says,”Candidates are the most important person in the process. The first thingthey should be asking for is feedback, because that is how they learn from theprocess.”Sarah Macpherson, seniorconsultant with CGR Business Psychologists, adds, “If assessment centresare well managed, they can be a very positive experience and an individual canlearn a lot about themselves. Even if they don’t get the job,good feedback can help them to find out which areas they need to do more workon. But if the experience is negative, it can knock the candidate’s confidenceand knock back their job search.”Power of word of mouthWhen candidates leaveassessment centres feeling that the exercise and feedback have been poorlymanaged, that has ramifications for the potential employer, since thecandidates are quite likely to share the experience with friends andcolleagues. Macpherson explains, “Insmall communities, word goes around and other candidates will refuse to go to abadly-run assessment centre.” It is a poor advertisement for the potentialemployer.Should the candidate’simpression be correct, it will have also been an expensive mistake for theemployer – not just the wasted cost of the assessment itself but in thedevelopment of the company.While employers’ experiencessuggests that assessment centres are, on the whole, popular and generally wellmanaged, it is more difficult to find out about problem areas. Macphersonargues that the problem of poor assessment and feedback could be morewidespread than is generally realised: “People who have had a poorexperience tend not to complain because they are worried about being seen asdifficult, or because their complaint will be seen as sour grapes.”Material and methodologiesbeing used in assessment also need to be considered, says Iain Ballantyne,senior consultant at Assessment & Development Consultants, “As in theearly days of psychometric testing, people are publishing a lot of materialthat won’t do the job that it claims to be able to do. Meanwhile, people areselecting these exercises in good faith, and are not always fully aware of theramifications of the selection process.”There are, therefore, those inthe industry who argue that it is time to take a closer look at how assessmentcentres are being managed, and to consider whether the introduction of a set ofagreed standards or code of practice is appropriate.In the US, there are alreadyestablished guidelines relating specifically to assessment centres, and therehas been discussion in the UK among various bodies, including the BritishPsychological Society and Investors in People, about establishing standards inassessment. At this stage, the IIP could not provide any details concerning itsproposed module on recruitment and assessment, nor when it might be introduced.Angela Baron, employeeresourcing adviser at the CIPD, argues that recruitment surveys by theorganisation show that assessment centres are generally held in high regard.While the institute concedes that there may be problems – it points to a lackof focus by companies as being the most common mistake – Baron comments:”Assessment centres are still considered the most reliable andprofessional form of recruitment, although it is expensive.”She argues for self-regulation,rather than the imposition of external guidelines. “Anything thatde-professionalises assessment or detracts from the experience should be lookedat. But while we know that there are many examples of bad recruitment, we hopethat professional human resources departments would observe bestpractice.”Davis agrees: “We need tobe self-regulatory and people who design and run assessment centres must havebest practice at the back of their mind. I’d be loath to have externalpractices assess the centres because it is difficult to regulate a practice,rather than a product.”The nature of assessmentcentres makes regulation difficult, says Baron. “A code of conduct wouldbe difficult to regulate because assessment centres are tailored to eachrecruitment scenario and the techniques are designed to test people onparticular aspects.”The whole point ofassessment centres is that they are tailored to an organisation’s needs, so theorganisation needs to work very closely with the consultant. You can’t be tooprescriptive about how they operate because the success of the centre comesdown to the relationship between the organisation and the externalconsultant.”Ruth Colling, recruitmentspecialist at business psychology consultancy Nicholson McBride, points to theBritish Psychological Society’s codes of practice for its psychometric testswhich requires that practitioners need to be trained and qualified. But sheadds, “With something as broad and all-encompassing as assessment centres,it would be hard to say, ‘Does that particular part of the process fit into thestandard?’”Rather than looking at acode of conduct, what needs to be emphasised is how a company can get the mostfrom an assessment centre, and that includes putting in enough time and effortto make the centre work for them. There are plenty of guidelines around.”The CIPD points out that asuccessful assessment centre demands certain criteria, including: a high levelof involvement by the company and its managers; their involvement in the actualassessment process – for example, as observers; and for there to be a goodrelationship with the provider.”I wouldn’t dismiss out ofhand a code of practice, it could be helpful,” says Baron.”Generally, the evidence is that assessment centres are useful and we needto ensure that they stay that way. But it would be difficult to dictate whatpeople do. The whole point about assessment centres is that they are notprescriptive.”Ballantyne points out, however,that not every company appreciates the importance of structural issues ofassessment centres, which is why standards are needed. “For example, whenyou set up an assessment centre, you need to make sure you have pre-assignedcompetencies when you are selecting people. It is a common error not to havethe criteria in place. You should ensure that proper training has been given toassessors, that candidates have a number of opportunities to demonstrate theircompetency, and that there is consensus in the final decision made.”And he adds: “Where thereare standards in place, people can at least check their own performance againstthe standards and decide whether or not they are doing their assessmentscorrectly.”But even if official guidelinesexisted, as Dr Charles Woodruffe, director at assessment centre consultancyHuman Assets, points out, enforcing them is a different issue. “Youalready have standards for psychometric tests, for example, but are the buyersof psychometric tests sufficiently aware of the tests even to ask the question?Pseudo-psychometry tests are two a penny on the Internet.””Standards for assessmentcentres would not do any harm but they are not a surefire solution becausethere will be plenty of organisations that will not have heard of them, or whoare assured that what they are being given matches the standards, when itdoesn’t.”Training, he believes, is key.As the author of Development and Assessment Centers; Identifying and DevelopingCompetence, he says, “I am oftenrung up by people who have read the book and say, ‘We have been asked to set upan assessment centre. Can you help?’ That is real kitchen table stuff. I knowyou have to start somewhere but in any other industry you’d start as anapprentice.””Common sense shoulddictate that the greatest weakness is observer training and people shouldunderstand better what is expected of assessment centres,” says Davis.”If that could be built into some form of best practice, that would befine.”Issues of training aresignificant – for an assessment centre to be accurate, the process needs to beunderstood. Yet in a survey conducted by A&DC, it was found that nearly 60per cent of companies give at most one day of training to its assessors, with14 per cent of those giving no training. “They might just as well stickwith interviews,” says Ballantyne.What it actually needs, says DrWoodruffe, is for customers of assessment centres to be more selective.”You have to ask the question, ‘Have you done this before and can I ring upthe person you did it for?’ It’s incredible that organisations will entrusttheir future to someone who is just one page ahead of that organisation. “It is fantastic that theytake on graduates for their future leadership and, for the sake of a few bob,jeopardise that.”Theatre ofabsurd: a recruitment tragedy in seven actsAct 1 An individualapplying for a consultant position found he was tested for mechanical reasoningand had to sit through various engineering tests using diagrams and pulleys, aswell as a further battery of tests in computingAct 2 The manager at acall centre decided to construct her own tests to see how bright applicantswere. Those applying for jobs had to undergo her version of televisionprogramme Catchphrase, as well as a range of puzzles from quiz booksAct 3 A trained psychologist,applying for a position as a consultant, was confronted with a psychometrictest in spatial reasoning, because, she was told, “You’re used to thetests, so we thought we’d give you something different”Act 4 A group of nursesin Coventry took their employer to court – and won – after an assessmentcentre, which they were told would be used for training and development, wasactually used to decide on candidates for redundancyAct 5 A group ofapplicants applying for external HR consultancy roles were taken to an isolatedcountry house and faced a series of irrelevant and traumatic tests, whichincluded working out complex statistical equations in front of the group. Theywere also told to “name their salary” in publicAct 6 One candidatefound that the results of her psychometric tests were judged against the viewsof her friend, who worked for the assessment centre. The assessor then askedher in-depth, and inappropriate, questions about her childhood “to explainthe discrepancies”Act 7 When applying fora position of consultant, an individual was put through an inappropriate anddifficult numerical reasoning test. She knew she would not do well at it – andin the event, the results were simply discardedMinimumstandards to qualify an event as an assessment centreAt least twomeasures of every competency that is being assessedAt least two work samplesimulations among the material that confronts participantsJob analysis that clearlydemonstrates the link between competencies and effective performance in thetarget jobAssessors complete theirevaluations independently, including any report form, before the integrationsessionThere are assessors who aretrained in the ORCE process, and its application in clear separation of thecomponent parts into discrete exercisesClear written and publishedstatement of the intent of the centre, how data will be stored, by whom, andrights of access to that data by any individualThere should be a statement ofthe limits of the validity of the centre in total and/or the limits for aparticular exerciseSource:Assessment & Development Consultants Previous Article Next Article
ReconAfrica secures petroleum licence in northwestern Botswana. (Credit: Pixabay/drpepperscott230) Canadian oil and gas company, Reconnaissance Energy Africa (ReconAfrica) has secured a new petroleum licence covering the eastern extension of the deep Kavango basin in northwestern Botswana.The company has also signed a farm-out option agreement on the lands, which cover 2.45 million acres (9,921km2).The land are also contiguous to ReconAfrica’s 6.3 million acre petroleum licence in northeast Namibia.The terms of the licence include 100% working interest in all petroleum rights from surface to basement, an initial four-year exploration period, with renewals up to further 10 years.The licence operator holds right to enter into a 25-year production licenceAs per the Botswana Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act, the operator will hold the right to enter into a 25-year production licence with a 20-year renewal period after declaration of commercial production.Additionally, the royalties that are associated with the production licence will be subject to negotiation, and usually range from 3 to 10% of gross revenue from production.ReconAfrica said that the acquisition and analysis of the Botswana lands and initial data set used to define the most eastern portion of the Kavango basin in Botswana was initiated over the past several years by a private company.The private company is controlled by Craig Steinke, a related party to ReconAfrica.ReconAfrica has also entered into a farm-out option agreement with a private company wholly-owned by Steinke for the Botswana lands.The agreement is subject to certain conditions that include the approval of the Botswana Department of Mines and Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security (MMR) to the transfer of the licence upon exercise of the option.In February this year, ReconAfrica signed an agreement with Henderson Rigs (Houston) for the acquisition of a Crown 750 drilling rig. The operator will hold the right to enter into a 25-year production licence with a 20-year renewal period after declaration of commercial production
The Department of Psychology at The Citadel is seeking applicationsfor adjunct faculty positions. Courses taught will be at both thegraduate level and the undergraduate level.Minimum Qualifications:Adjunct positions at the graduate level require a doctoral degree.A master’s degree is required to teach at the undergraduate level.Courses taught will vary from semester to semester based ondepartmental needs.Preference will be given to applicants who have previous effectiveteaching experience. If you have questions, please contact Dr. ChipTaylor by phone at: 843-953-5320, or by email at: [email protected]**Review of applications will begin immediately and willcontinue until positions are filled**Advertised: Apr 27 2020 Eastern Daylight TimeApplications close:
From left, Waves of Caring board members Dana Linthicum, Jim Smith, Debbie Buckley, Patricia Smith and Frank Donato stand behind some of the donated toys in 2017. By Donald WittkowskiA steady stream of people entering the lobby of the Port-O-Call Hotel on Tuesday night kept handing bags of toys and other gifts to Beth Pruzinsky.Pruzinsky, in turn, would stack the gifts on a pile of hundreds of toys that was growing higher and higher with each minute.“So far, it looks like we have more toys than last year,” said Pruzinsky, the hotel’s controller. “We brought out an extra bin and it’s all full. Everybody brings more than one gift now.”The Santa Claus-like largesse was part of an annual toy drive and holiday party, benefiting Ocean City’s needy children, that pairs the Port-O-Call with a local charity called Waves of Caring.The partnership between the hotel and Waves of Caring began in 1993, turning what was then a modest toy drive launched by the Port-O-Call’s employees at a holiday party into a communitywide outpouring of gift giving.“The first year we had it, it was an employee gift bin. Now, they’re bringing bags and bags of toys. It’s great,” said Pruzinsky, one of the organizers of the drive. “I think they’re excited to contribute so many toys that will stay right here in Ocean City.”Beth Pruzinsky, left, controller at the Port-O-Call Hotel and an organizer of the toy drive, accepts two skateboards from City Councilman Keith Hartzell and 7th Street Surf Shop owner Becky Friedel.Jim Smith, Ocean City’s fire chief and the chairman of the Waves of Caring board of directors, noted that between 100 and 185 local children would receive gifts from the toy drive.Although Ocean City is generally viewed as a well-to-do shore town of beachfront homes and trendy downtown boutiques, Smith said there are some pockets of poverty.“Yes, it’s an affluent town. But there are a lot of families that are struggling just to get by,” he said in an interview.Waves of Caring is a city-sanctioned charity that collects and distributes toys and other gifts around the Christmas holiday for children of underprivileged Ocean City families. It works with different organizations in town to extend a helping hand of donated food, clothing and holiday gifts through the Ocean City Ecumenical Council, a coalition of churches.The Port-O-Call served as the venue Tuesday night for a holiday party to collect the toys and celebrate the partnership with Waves of Caring. A packed crowd representing leaders of the city’s political, business and social scene gathered in the hotel’s Adelene restaurant.Port-O-Call’s Adelene restaurant hosted a packed crowd for the toy drive and holiday party.Smith, who has been with Waves of Caring for 24 years, thanked the Port-O-Call and the community for their support over the years. He emphasized that all of the gifts and monetary donations collected during the toy drive stay in Ocean City.“One hundred percent of all of our money goes back to the community,” he said. “There’s zero overhead for us.”This was the 10th anniversary for the toy drive party. However, the Port-O-Call’s general manager, Glenn Losch, told the crowd it was the last one scheduled at the hotel. Afterward, he said it was time for the party to shift to another location after spending 10 years at the Port-O-Call.In remarks to the crowd, Losch stressed that the hotel and its owners, the Scully family, are still firmly committed to the toy drive and other charitable efforts through the partnership with Waves of Caring.“It’s been a great honor working with Waves of Caring,” he said.The hotel’s ownership group includes brothers Michael and James Scully and Michael’s daughter, Jessica Scully, who serves as president, Pruzinsky said.The iconic Port-O-Call, affectionately known as the “Pink Lady” for its distinctive hue, has been a fixture at 15th Street and the Boardwalk since 1966.People walking through the hotel lobby Tuesday night passed a table brimming with stuffed animals, dolls, games, miniature trucks, balls and many more toys and gifts. Someone donated a bike. Gift certificates and cash donations were also accepted.“There are a lot of gifts here. I’m going to say it’s in the hundreds,” Pruzinsky said.A bike was among the hundreds of donated toys and other gifts.
A now-closed auto dealership at 16th Street and Simpson Avenue is the centerpiece of a nearly block of land the city is looking to buy for public use. By Donald WittkowskiMayor Jay Gillian gave a spirited defense in favor of Ocean City’s proposed $9 million purchase of a large piece of property that would be protected from high-density housing, but he acknowledged the deal is threatened by a petition drive for a public referendum.Speaking at a City Council meeting Thursday night, Gillian said the transaction offers the city the rare opportunity to acquire strategically located land that could be preserved as open space or possibly serve as the site for a new police station.Responding to critics who claim the city is overpaying for the land, the mayor refuted suggestions that he should negotiate with the owners or wait a bit longer to get a lower price.“It’s $9 million. That’s the number,” he said bluntly. “If you think we’re going to negotiate and get it cheaper, that’s not going to happen.”Mayor Jay Gillian wants to complete the city’s purchase of the land and protect the site from dense housing development.Fairness In Taxes, a local government watchdog group, has started a petition drive to put the property sale up for a public referendum, which would give voters the final say over the transaction. FIT members said they want the city to buy the land, but at a lower price.“We have started a petition for a referendum, and it’s going well,” FIT member Dave Hayes told Council during the meeting.In an interview afterward, Hayes said the petition drive has thus far collected about 100 signatures. He said around 400 signatures are needed to put a referendum on the ballot. The 400 signatures would represent 10 percent of the total number of voters in the last municipal election, the threshold for a referendum.Gillian maintained that a referendum would simply delay the sale from going through or kill it altogether. At the very least, the city would likely end up paying more money to buy the land if there are any delays, especially if it is caught in a bidding war for the property, he added.With Ocean City property values on the rise, it would be a mistake not to grab the land now for $9 million and keep it under the city’s control, the mayor said.“We want to get this block and try to do something spectacular,” Gillian told the audience.Dave Hayes, a member of Fairness In Taxes, tells Council the petition drive for a referendum is moving forward.The nearly full block of land runs along Simpson and Haven avenues, between 16th Street and 17th Street, adjacent to the Ocean City Community Center. It last served as the location of the Ocean City Chevrolet auto dealership, which went out of business in January. Prior to that, it was the home of the Perry-Egan Chevrolet dealership.Although the city has not yet developed specific plans for the property, Gillian has discussed the possibility of turning it into green space as part of a “public corridor” of land along Simpson and Haven avenues, from 15th Street to 20th Street, that includes Emil Palmer Park, the Ocean City Community Center and the Ocean City Intermediate School.He has also mentioned the possibility of redeveloping the site for a new police station that would replace the city’s antiquated Public Safety Building. For about two years, the city has grappled with the idea of whether to renovate the more than 100-year-old Public Safety Building at Eighth Street and Central Avenue or develop a new headquarters for the police department at an estimated cost of $17 million.As a prelude to a sale, the city had two independent appraisals conducted for the land to determine the market value. One of the appraisals determined the land to be worth $8.3 million, while the other set the value at $9 million, the asking price by the owners, Gillian said.Members of FIT believe the appraisals grossly overvalued the property. FIT President Jim Tweed said the organization wants “better facts” about how the appraisals were conducted. At the same time, Tweed urged Council on Thursday to consider using the city’s power of eminent domain to acquire the land.Landowner Jerry Klause says his family wants to sell to the city, but is willing to consider offers from housing developers.The land is owned by the Klause family, former co-owners of auto dealerships on the site. Gillian said brothers Jerry and Harry Klause approached the city about selling the property, but are sticking firm to their $9 million asking price. Council approved a bond ordinance on Sept. 13 to buy the land.The Klauses have obtained a court order that would allow them to develop up to 29 coastal cottages on the site. Coastal cottages are a closely bunched type of housing, allowing for high-density construction.The mayor and City Council have made it clear that they don’t want dense housing in a town already struggling with overdevelopment.In remarks to City Council, Jerry Klause said Thursday his family could make more money selling the land to housing developers. However, he stressed that his family would prefer to work out a deal with the city so that the land could be preserved as open space or converted into another type of public use.“I can guarantee you, we can make more money than $9 million. That’s just the way it is,” Klause said of the prospect of selling the property to developers.Empty land that is part of the former auto dealership property at 16th Street and Simpson Avenue is included in the $9 million sale.At the same time it is trying to buy the former auto dealership site from the Klause family, the city is talking to other property owners about acquiring their land to round out the block at 16th Street and Haven Avenue. The owners include John Flood, a former city councilman who unsuccessfully challenged Gillian in the May mayoral election and is now a commercial real estate developer.Council approved an ordinance Thursday to acquire the surrounding property either by buying it or using eminent domain, which allows government to seize private property for a public use after the courts determine a fair price for the land.Donna Moore and Suzanne Hornick, two of the local residents who spoke during the Council meeting, said they would prefer to see the city use $9 million in public funding for flood-mitigation projects instead of buying the Klause land.Moore wants the deal postponed until city officials could hold a public hearing to collect ideas from residents on what to do with the site. She said a public hearing would represent a “more diverse sampling of the population.”Councilman Keith Hartzell, center, is urging critics to stop their personal attacks against the governing body over the property sale.The Council meeting, meanwhile, was marked by a series of testy exchanges between the governing body and critics of the property sale. Gillian joined the Council members in appealing to critics to refrain from any personal attacks against city officials during public debate over the deal.“This is so insane, this discord back and forth,” Councilman Keith Hartzell said.Echoing the comments of other Council members, Hartzell stressed that he is willing to listen to critics during normal discussions about the sale.“Because I disagree with you, doesn’t mean I’m not going to listen to you,” Hartzell said.Marie Hayes, wife of Dave Hayes, responded to the mayor and Hartzell, “Just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean we’re attacking you.”Councilwoman Karen Bergman said she takes offense to accusations that she doesn’t listen to the public. Disputing criticism of the sale, Bergman told the audience that other residents have spoken to her in support of the city’s plan to preserve the land.“This is what people want. They don’t want development on this property,” she said.Based on what local residents have been telling her, Bergman said she is confident that a referendum would fail, if one even makes it on the ballot.