Page 1

August 2018



Tuttle, Daly, Moroney, Diller win board seats Parks said to be interested in another term as OPA president

By TOM STAUSS Publisher here will be three new members of the Board of Directors this month, the result of this summer’s annual Ocean Pines Association election. Steve Tuttle, with 2,322 votes, and Frank Daly, with 2,048 votes, won three-year terms. Ted Moroney, with 1,809 votes, and Esther Diller, with 1,549 votes, each will fill one-year terms that expire in August of next year. Diller won despite a decision not to attend two candidate forums or to campaign, other than to place a fullpage ad in the Progress with bullet points describing her positions on issues confronting Ocean Pines. She edged out Paula Gray, with 1,526 votes, who did do some personal campaigning and who attended candidate forums. “I think I won because a lot of people agree with me on the issues,” she said. She pledged to work towards the goal of outsourcing management of the OPA, starting with the general manager position and including the finance department. “HOAs across the country are doing this, successfully,” she said. “There’s no reason why anyone should be afraid of this.” The top voter-getter, Tuttle, a former chair of the


Steve Tuttle 2,322 votes

Frank Daly 2,048 votes

Ted Moroney 1,809 votes

Esther Diller 1,549 votes

Ocean Pines Elections Committee, said he did a lot of door-to-door campaigning, listening to the concerns of Ocean Pines property owners. What he learned was that a lot of residents didn’t like the way that the OPA handled the geese euthanasia issue. “That was the number one issue,” he said. Tuttle said that the OPA had no option but to deal with the over-population the way it did, but he said he supports non-lethal efforts to keep the goose population down to acceptable levels. He also said OPA members are concerned about rising assessments. During the campaign, Tuttle expressed opposition to the $30 increase in the assessment in the current fiscal year. Daly was more definitive about his desire to deTo Page 45

Trendic critical of Parks, Bailey and Horn for ‘unapproved’ release of Country Club RFP ~ Page 36


Bailey abandons Hill’s plans for admin building Although the Board of Directors has yet to take up the matter, General Manager John Bailey has his own idea on how to provide more space for the Ocean Pines Police Department. It’s not the same approach that former Acting General Manager Brett Hill, and retiring OPA director and president Tom Herrick, had in mind. They, with some implicit backing of previous boards, wanted to use the existing footprint within the administration building to expand OPPD space. ~ Page 8

Board proceeds with RFP for replacement of crabbing pier

Despite objections from a majority of property owners in Whitetail Sanctuary, the Ocean Pines Association is moving forward with a request for proposals for replacement of the derelict crabbing pier located in that section of the community. The Board decided during a July 27 meeting to continue with the RFP process as part of an information gathering exercise as they debate whether to replace the pier, build a new one somewhere else, or convert the existing site to a nature preserve. ~ Page 26

Herrick unhappy with way colleagues handled contract Director Tom Herrick, in the waning days as a member of the Board of Directors, issued biting criticism of three of his colleagues for a contract signed in December of last year with Mediacom, Ocean Pines’ primary Internet and cable television provider, for a dedicated, fiber optic connection between the Ocean Pines Police Department and Worcester County Emergency Services in Snow Hill. ~ Page 19

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August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Country Club second floor renovation estimate balloons to $1.2 million Additional items could send final cost even higher, depending on what extras the board approves By TOM STAUSS Publisher umors that new, much higher cost estimates for renovating the second floor of the Country Club were recently added to the evolving reserve study’s asset list have been confirmed. Cost estimates for the project are soaring. New cost estimates of roughly $1.2 million for the Country Club appear in a summary of pending major capital projects dated Aug. 3 by General Manager John Bailey. The document was discussed at length during a meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee Aug. 3. Bailey said that a new request for proposals for the second floor renovation was expected to be issued by Aug. 10. That target date was reached, with an RFP posted on the


OPA Web site late that day. But the posting has sparked a controversy within board ranks. Director Slobodan Trendic said the release of the RFP contradicted a board vote and friendly amendment last April that said the directors needed to review and vote to approve the RFP prior to release. [See article on page one of this edition for details.] According to Bailey’s summary, the RFP will call for a base bid price along with certain add-ons, including an elevator and major changes to the roof line. “Once the proposals are received, the board will have to decide what add/alternates get included in a final contract,” Bailey wrote, “and those decisions will lead us to a more accurate spending amount for

the overall project.” Excluding the elevator but including roof line changes, Bailey in a telephone interview with the Progress confirmed that the latest cost estimate for the project is just under $1 million. But he warned of additional costs for operational trailers that he said “will be necessary during the time of construction to continue operating the golf course.” His list of trailers included one for the golf pro shop, restrooms and a mobile kitchen for food. Bailey’s call for trailers was the first public revelation that the entire building may have to be closed during the renovation or at least a portion of it. He told the committee that botched and incomplete roof repairs last year caused extensive leaking

The latest floor plan of the Country Club’s second floor by Davis, Bowen and Friedel is part of a request for proposals posted on the Ocean Pines Association Web site Aug. 10. One change from the previous version is the relabeling of the board room to a banquet room. It still will be used by the OPA Board of Directors for meetings. however.


in the pro shop and Tern Grille on the lower level of the building. As a result, he said, wall repairs will need to be done along with fixes to the roof. Director Ted Moroney said the most important task for contractors will be to make sure the building envelope is sealed from leaks. Bailey said that at this point it’s unclear how long the building might have to be closed to accommodate roof repairs and redesign and first floor repairs. He said it could be anywhere from two to five months. Bailey estimated the cost of a temporary golf operations trailer in a range of $15,609 to $24,312, a bathroom trailer in a range of $6,750 to $17,250, and a mobile kitchen at $15,600 to $37,350. On top of that, he estimates setup costs at $25,000 for furniture, including, chairs, tables and a conference room set-up, and $5000 for security systems. He also added in a $100,000, ten percent contingency over the base price estimate. These additional costs push the estimated total cost to roughly $1.2 million. There was some push-back during the meeting about the call for temporary operational trailers. Former OPA Director Marty Clarke suggested simply closing the golf course during the time when the pro shop and Tern Grille would be inaccessible, which he said could be planned out so it would occur during January and February when the course is either closed or experiencing very little use because of weather conditions. Clarke also said Bailey’s latest cost estimate was an example of mission creep, recalling that a cost estimate for the renovation last summer by Willow Construction was for roughly $500,000. Disputing the idea that the doubling of that estimate to a new base cost of $1 million constituted mission creep, Bailey instead said it was the result of new architectural and engineering drawings as well as two bids, rejected by the Board of Directors last year, that came in at roughly $800,000 and $900,000. The original $500,000 estimate was from Willow Construction last summer, “a contractor that was simply providing a budgetary estimate that was stated not to be used for construction purposes and for which there were no actual construction documents created at the time,” Baiq



August 2018

From Page 3

ley wrote in his summary. The general manager said “mission creep” might be considered an apt description of add-ons that the board may or may not approve when bids are submitted. He noted that a board consensus has emerged favoring the inclusion of an elevator in the project, and a desire for improved roof lines in the 1970s’-era building was the result of input from the Golf Members Council. The golfers and a group of elected and unelected OPA officials during recent tours of the building also decided that windows in the building also need replacing. Bailey’s summary included cost estimates for additional add-ons including $10,565 for clerestory windows, $10,565 for picture windows, $26,169 for new casement windows, $40,399 for new storefront windows, $5,671 and another $4,099 for hollow metal doors. His latest estimate, not including the elevator, which has been

estimated at roughly $100,000, but including roof-line improvements, is $1,386,585. “The reserve study identifies components related to the renovation of the upstairs, the roof, and the exterior that total $1,386,585,” Bailey wrote in his summary. “There are other components that are included in the reserve study in out-years that are not included here.” As it stands, in addition to the $1,386,585 estimate for renovations in the reserve study, another $266,216 is included in the component list for this year, such as asphalt repair, golf pro shop items and $187,000 for golf maintenance equipment. Committee chair John Viola suggested that the second floor renovation is intended more for community use, including board of directors meetings, than it is for golf-related banquet events. He said therefore the project should not be listed in the reserve study’s component list under golf. Bailey acknowledged the point.

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August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Bailey rebuts Country Club tear-down conspiracy theory Says higher cost estimates aren’t a ploy for future replacement By TOM STAUSS Publisher eneral Manager John Bailey has rebutted rumors and speculation that sharply higher cost estimates for the Country Club second floor renovation are a ploy to persuade the Board of Directors and the Ocean Pines community eventually to support tearing down the building and replacing it with something new. At a meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee Aug. 3, Bailey said that because the Ocean Pines Association has already spent roughly $500,000 on renovating the lower level golf pro shop, Tern Grille, the men’s locker room and bathroom, along with $40,000 or so on new engineering and architectural drawings for the second floor renovation, there would be little or no interest in the community to abandon the project now. He said that if he had been around Ocean Pines two years ago, he would have argued for a tear-down and replacement of the 1970s-era Country Club rather than a renovation. “But that train has left the station,” he said, adding that he had every intention to follow through with sending out a revised request for proposals and, once bids are opened and vetted, recommending a contractor to the Board of Directors for approval. The intent is to begin the renovation in late fall and have it completed by March, Bailey said. Former Ocean Pines director Marty Clarke challenged Bailey on his disavowal of any interest in abandoning the renovation in favor of starting over, reminding the general manager that several months ago he had asked Clarke whether he thought building a new Country Club would be a good idea. That was before the latest estimates of $1.2 million and possibly even q


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higher renovation costs were added to the evolving cost estimates. Bailey repeated that he had no interest in or intention to abandon the renovation project. Another former OPA director, Pete Gomsak, agreed with Bailey that the renovation approach to the Country Club as an alternative to replacement had been decided two years ago. Gomsak said he disagreed with that decision and predicted that renovation eventually will cost the OPA more than a new building would have. Saying that he, too, thought it was too late to abandon renovation at this stage, he nonetheless mentioned the possibility that OPA property owners, once they learn of the eventual cost of a second floor renovation, might decide to petition for a referendum for a replacement building. He said such a scenario would be unlikely, however. Bailey said his estimate of $1.2 million for a second renovation is based on two bids submitted by contractors months ago and rejected by the OPA as too high. Those bids were

in the $800,000 to $900,000 range. More recently, Ocean Pines resident and contractor Marvin Steen said he believed a renovation could be done for much less than those two submitted bids, even including an elevator for roughly $100,000. He offered to oversee a renovation as an unpaid general contractor, subcontracting out components of the renovation to others, but Bailey and OPA President Doug Parks never followed up with Steen. Instead, with the approval of the board, Bailey proceeded to work with a Salisbury-based engineering firm, Davis, Bowen and Friedel, to draw up new engineering and architectural drawings for a much more elaborate renovation than had been anticipated by the board and former Acting General Manager Brett Hill a year ago. Hill was rebuffed in his efforts to hire an Ocean City contractor, Willow Construction, to do the second floor renovation last summer at an estimated cost of $500,000. Bailey said during the Aug. 3 meeting that Willow’s $500,000 cost estimate was not based on any engineering and construction drawings and that, since then, plans have undergone a number of changes, adding to cost estimates.


August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Herrick, Hill push back on Moroney’s claims about Country Club roof leaks Hill says the OPA isn’t pursuing warranty claims because ‘certain individuals would rather see inflated cost estimates’ for the second floor renovation By TOM STAUSS Publisher n Director Ted Moroney’s description of poorly executed roof repairs at the Country Club, he suggested they’re a contributing factor in why cost estimates for the second floor renovation have more than doubled in a year. In remarks made at a meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee in early August, Moroney implicitly blamed former acting general manager Brett Hill for poor execution or oversight of roof repairs. Moroney said the first contractor hired for roof repairs was fired before the job was done, but was paid about $35,000 of the $70,000 contract amount. A second contractor was paid about $43,000 but didn’t complete the work, he said. “In fact, there is about 1,000 square feet of roof that was never fixed at all,” Moroney said. “The second contractor notified OPA of a whole lot of … errors and problems with the roof that had been done by the contractor that we terminated.”


Moroney said a consultant was then hired to evaluate what was needed to finish the job. “That report was provided by Public Works to the [acting general manager] at that time. I don’t know

whether it ever got to the board or not,” Moroney said, adding, “Basically, we have no warrantee on the roof,” alleging that the second contractor “was not licensed to be able Tom Herrick to do that.” Because of the continuously leaking roof, Moroney said that some walls on the lower level of the Country are “bowing in” as a result of water infiltration. “There’s a great video they’ve got at the back door of Tern Grille … of the water pouring inside the building,” Moroney said. He said fixing what he called the “envelope problem” once and for all is more important than any of the other improvements slated for the second floor. In a phone call to the Progress after he read a media report of Moroney’s remarks, Hill took exception to the director’s characterization of the second contractor as a company that didn’t offer a warranty or won’t come back to fix any problems left unfixed. “That’s false,” Hill said. “The OPA isn’t interested in pursuing a

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warranty claim because certain individuals want to inflate the cost of renovation. It’s part of the ‘blame Brett Hill game’ some continue to play.” He also said that if the renBrett Hill ovation costs come in high enough, the “big spender” faction within Ocean Pines will push for a tear down and replacement of the Country Club. “They lost that debate two years ago but haven’t given up,” Hill said. General Manager John Bailey denied any intention to revive the tear down and replace option. He said the latest cost estimate of $1.2 million was not his but that of DBF (Davis, Bowen and Friedel), the Salisbury architectural firm hired to draw up engineering and architectural drawings to be used in a RFP. Retiring Director Tom Herrick joined Hill in decrying Moroney’s information about the roof repairs, contending that they were part of a narrative designed to blame Hill for the escalating cost estimates. Herrick also criticized a majority of his former colleagues, Slobodan


Trendic as the notable exception, for authorizing Bailey to press ahead with the issuing of a request for proposals for the second floor renovation by Aug. 9, rather than to wait for the new board of directors that organizes later this month to review the plans. “It wasn’t too much to ask to have at least three new directors look at plans that they will be voting on in a few weeks,” Herrick said, adding that the renovation planning dragged on for months without anything of consequence happening after Hill’s departure as acting general manager. “It got some more attention early in the year, but here we in early August, and they’re just getting around to issuing an RFP. A week or two shouldn’t matter all that much” in having the renovation done by next spring, Herrick said. Given that record of non-performance, Herrick said adding a couple of weeks to the review process to allow the new board of directors to review plans shouldn’t be too much to ask. Herrick also said that property owners should have one last opportunity to review and comment on the plans before the RFP is issued. Trendic told the Progress in an Aug. 10 telephone interview that to the best of his knowledge, the second company called in to continue roof repairs had declared bankruptcy and that therefore the OPA couldn’t pursue a warranty claim. So he more or less backed Moroney’s version of what occurred last year on the roof repairs. But Trendic joined Herrick in opposing the release of the RFP before newly elected directors had an opportunity to review them.


August 2018

OPA geese control efforts going to the dogs Bailey hires collies to keep goose population down, as residents condemn ‘secretive’ process that led to decision to gather up, euthanize and donate as food 250 or so resident wildfowl By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer hile General Manager John Bailey delicately referred to it as “wildlife management” in his July 27 report to the Board of Directors, many residents are calling out the Ocean Pines Association’s top officials for propagating a secret massacre of their beloved geese. After having his feathers ruffled by complaints that poured in to the OPA about the offing of the waterfowl that gathered around the entrance ponds, Bailey is preparing to take a new approach to governing the gaggles of geese – canine control. Bailey addressed the controversy about the euthanizing of hundreds of geese who called Ocean Pines their home, and said he hopes it won’t have to be done again. “No one, and I repeat no one, wants to euthanize geese including the employees of the Unites States Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services Agency, the members of


Demonstrating for geese

Opponents of the recent removal and euthanasia of geese in Ocean Pines demonstrated before the July 27 meeting of the Board of Directors, some of whose members were unaware of the program before it was implemented.

the association’s Environment and Natural Assets Committee, the OPA staff, the Board of Directors, nor this general manager. However sometimes things of this world simply

do not match up with our desires. Be that as it may we all have a role to play in trying to prevent such an action from becoming necessary again,” Bailey said.

He told the assembled residents at the meeting, some of whom protested the goose kill outside the Community Center before the July 27 meeting began, that the association has tried a number of methods over the years to prevent the geese population from growing too large and thus having a negative impact on the community’s amenities and the water quality. So far, none of those efforts, including growing tall grass and stringing fishing line around the ponds, have made a difference, he said, adding, “now, it’s time to try something new” Bailey said one method that holds promise is the use of water collies,” Bailey said, adding that he has met with a company called Maryland Geese Control and received a proposal from it for managing the waterfowl population at the OPA’s ponds. The presence of the water collies on site will disturb the geese and prompt them to move elsewhere, according to Bailey. “We will be able to begin seeing them on site once a day within a matter of weeks,” Bailey said of the dogs. The contract calls for once dai-


8 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


ly goose control on site at a rate of $625 per week. Bailey said daily water collie service is necessary to be successful in slowly getting the geese to relocate on their own “or at least with the help of our four-legged friends.” The issue dominated the Public Comments segment of the July 27 meeting. Resident Dulce Olexo said she was appalled about the OPA’s solution to the geese situation as were many people. However, she said Bailey was “wonderfully open to suggestions, including working with the water collies through Maryland Geese Control. She lauded the company saying “I really think this is one of the best options we should look into for now.” Another resident wasn’t quite so complimentary during his comments saying “destroying almost the entire flock was wrong” and doing it is secret was appalling. “People woke up on Friday the 29th and wondered where their geese went.” That resident said he understands that the flock was large and untenable. However, no decisions should have been made by Bailey or the board regarding how to address the situation, especially using such lethal measures, without community input, the resident said. Not everyone was opposed to the removal of the geese. Resident Dick Neimann thanked the board and staff for having the courage to try something to control the population. “I commend you guys for taking action. I’ve been here since 84. It’s been controversial. It’s never going to cease,” he said. His opinion was not shared by most of those commenting. Neimann said the pollution caused by goose excrement has caused problems with the proliferation of blue-green algae, some of which is deadly, on the ponds. “Do we want to have a legal case of blue green algae harming or killing a kid versus a goose? Just think about that for a minute,” he said. Similarly, Doris Lloyd commended the board for taking care of the geese, which were polluting the lake and killing the fish. “Conservation is wise use of the environment and that’s what you are doing. Thank you,” she said. Bailey called out residents who feed them as one of the reasons so many geese have historically chosen

to move into Ocean Pines. The overabundance of fowl were fouling the ponds, creating a potentially toxic situation for people and fish, he said. “While geese can be nice to look at and are tempting to feed, they also produce a lot of crap. That excrement is not inviting around our amenities and pollutes the waters of our ponds. Not only does it pollute the ponds within the confines of the association’s 3,000-plus acres, it adds significantly to the pollution of the creeks, river and bay,” he contended. In addition to the free meals that residents have provided, the ponds have given geese a safe haven for nesting. “Geese like an area for basically two reasons. The area is either a food source and/or it is a safe place to rest and nest. As a food source the main solution is simple. Do not feed the geese. I know it’s cute and fun to do. However, it’s not healthy for the geese and it’s not helpful in the prevention of their population growth,” Bailey said. As for the ponds being a safe harbor for the geese, mitigation efforts need to be pursued, Bailey said. That’s where the water collies come in. But, he cautioned, that may not be enough of a deterrent to keep the geese away for long though. There are also other methods the OPA may have to utilize and conjunction with the water collie effort.


Residents form group to keep spotlight on OPA’s goose control efforts


cean Pines residents upset with last month’s early morning removal of much of Ocean Pines’ resident goose population, their destruction by euthanasia and subsequent donation as food to the Maryland Food Bank have organized with the intent of keeping a spotlight on Ocean Pines Association management to make sure that non-lethal means of controlling the population are used from now on. A meeting for that purpose has been set for Aug. 16 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ocean Pines library. Although a target of ire by some residents for implementing the goose kill, without informing residents before hand, OPA General Manager John Bailey is encouraging concerned residents to attend the Aug. 16 meeting.

“Why?” Bailey said. “Because quite frankly geese are smart critters. They adapt. Sometimes a mitigation method may work for a month or more. Sometimes methods may only succeed for about ten minutes.” Sometimes mitigation methods may need to be “out of the box,” like use of a drone or remote controlled truck or boat in the ponds to frighten the geese, he said. Bailey asked residents to help the OPA control the goose population and encouraged them to be “a part of the conversation.” He acknowledged a group of concerned residents has formed to discuss the

goose control methods, and he said the OPA encourages those discussions. He also invited anyone concerned about the goose problem to attend meetings of the OPA’s Environment and Natural Assets Advisory Committee when the issue is being reviewed. However, he pointed out that any mitigation efforts that involve association funding or physical placement on association property must be coordinated with the association. “The environment, the ponds, the creeks, the river, the bay and the geese should be protected. All of it. Just as we humans are all stewards of it,” Bailey said.

Bailey abandons Hill plans for renovation of Admin Building Proposes expanding building by 40 feet to accommodate police department BY TOM STAUSS Publisher lthough the Board of Directors has yet to take up the matter, General Manager John Bailey has his own idea on how to provide more space for the Ocean Pines Police Department. It’s not the same approach that former Acting General Manager Brett Hill, and retiring OPA director and former president Tom Herrick, had in mind. They, with some implicit backing of previous boards, wanted to use the existing footprint within the administration building to expand OPPD space, while shrinking space available for the membership, public relations, finance and general manager departments. According to reports more than two years ago, there was never any intention to relocate certain departments over to the Country Club. Two meeting rooms, however, were to be eliminated, including the existing board meeting room and one used by committees on occasion. Plans were to relocate the membership department down the hallway to the board meeting room and the general manager’s office to a smaller office current-


ly used by the public relations department. There was some discussion of moving certain functions to the Country Club during renovation, but never a permanent move. At a meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee Aug. 3, Bailey made it clear that he thinks expanding the existing building to accommodate the police department is the better move. He told the committee that he would add roughly 40 feet to the building in the direction of the parking lot that serves the Community Center. “This project was originally pursued in order to expand the square footage of the Police Department within the existing footprint of the facility and moving some of the administrative functions to the second floor of the Country Club,” Bailey writes in an Aug. 3 document entitled Major Capital Projects & Reserve Study - Summary Review. “With the changes to the design of the Country Club, such a move is no longer envisioned. Rather, an addition to the existing footprint is to be to be considered.” q

Goose control

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

10 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Admin building

Bailey hints possibility of waterfront assessment holiday in 2019-20

From Page 9

Back in 2016, Bailey writes, when the administration building renovation within the existing footprint was originally proposed, it carried an estimated cost of $360,000. “The estimated costs of the renovation scheduled for 2019 with the expansion concept is $600,000, including $50,000 budget this year for [architectural and engineering drawings],” according to Bailey, The budget for 2018-19 includes the $50,000 for these drawings, none of which has been spent to date, absent any board approval or even discussion of Bailey’s expansion concept. It’s an issue that will be taken up by the new board to be organized this month. “It is the intent to begin discussions on this project this fall and secure concept drawings and then bid ready construction drawings by the end of the fiscal year, April 2019,” Bailey writes. The general manager says that the OPA’s reserve study component list will need to be adjusted even if the board elects not to go along with Bailey’s expansion plans. Bailey said that two items scheduled for 2018 in the reserve study, tile and carpet at a cost of $7,501 and a generator at $24,674, need to be moved to 2019. “In 2019, the study identifies building components totaling $422,504,” Bailey writes. “Add the two from 2018, and the new total for 2019 is $454,679.” He notes that other items in outyears may need to be moved up to 2019. “However, the total of all the exterior, building systems and interior components identified in the reserve study does not exceed $462,944,” according to Bailey. The difference between the $462,944 and the $600,000 estimate for renovation under the expansion concept is $137,056, which apparently is Bailey’s estimate for expanding the building outward toward the Community Center parking lot by 40 feet. But it’s not at all clear that the $600,000 is a turn-key cost for expanding the space for police department operations. The Progress is awaiting a response from Bailey on that question. Budget and Finance committee members did not push back on the idea of expanding the building rather than staying within the existing footprint.

By TOM STAUSS Publisher lthough he stopped short of saying his draft budget for 2019-20 will include a “hiatus” in the “waterfront portion” of the annual Ocean Pines Association lot assessment, General Manager John Bailey is hinting that a hiatus or assessment holiday for waterfront owners is possible next year. The hint is contained in an Aug. 3 document he has released pertaining to major capital projects and reserve requirements needed to fund them. He reinforced the hint in comments delivered during an Aug. 3 meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee. A hiatus or holiday in the waterfront differential, or perhaps a lowering of the current rate of $465, is possible because the balance in the bulkhead and waterways reserve as of June 30 was $3.16 million, an increase from $2.5 million at the end of April. Roughly $1 million in spending on bulkhead replacement is anticipated in 2018-19, although it’s not clear that the OPA will be able to accomplish that much in new bulkheading. For the next ten years, spending is projected to be in the million dollar range every year. Bailey told the committee that a request for proposals (RFP) for a new bulkhead replacement contract will be issued shortly. “Once the RFP responses are received, we can make a clearer determination on the issue of the individual property owner bulkhead contribution {for 2019-20],” Bailey says in his summary document. Bailey proposed and the committee informally agreed to accept a $250,000 minimum in the bulkhead and waterways reserve, a target that would have to be approved by the Board of Directors before it becomes official OPA policy. “Even with higher amounts for future costs, the lower minimum balance threshold of $250,000 could likely equate to either a single year hiatus to the bulkhead reserve contribution or perhaps a multi-year slight reduction instead of a one-year skip,” Bailey writes, adding that “we need to see how the new contract bids impact the annual expenditure and the reserve balance before engaging in that discussion. One issue that could result in raising costs for bulkhead replacement is relocating the staging area for bulkhead work from the Swim and Racquet Club campus, Bailey told the committee, especially if a successful bidder is told that there is no site in Ocean Pines available for that purpose. That means that materials needed for the work will have to be transported daily from an off-site location to Ocean Pines. “The RFP will require several pricing options to address the recent discussions about the use/non-use of the Swim and Racquet Club area for bulkhead material storage and staging,” Bailey writes. “The RFP will request pricing for using the area, for using the area only from Oct. 1 to April 1, and for not using the area at all.” He told the Board of Directors during its monthly meeting July 27 that the cost could be 15 percent higher if Swim and Racquet or other Ocean Pines site is unavailable. The OPA is looking at other locations for a staging area, including the possibility of locating it on or just off county-owned property at the Worcester County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Ocean Pines just north of Route 90.


Reserve study places North Gate bridge replacement in 2021-22 Cost estimated at $1.6 million, but GM acknowledges project could be pushed back years, if not decades By TOM STAUSS Publisher t may come as a surprise to a lot of Ocean Pines property owners, but the iconic North Gate bridge is slated for replacement in the 2021-22 time-frame, not so far away, at a cost of $1.6 million. At least, that’s according to the ever-evolving Ocean Pines Association reserve study, a misnomer, because it’s really not a “study” of anything. What’s called a reserve study


is not much more than pages and pages of OPA assets, often in component form, with some best guesses as to replacement costs and when assets could be replaced. After months and months of scrubbing, it’s supposedly much more cleaner than it was back in 2016, when it was initially submitted to the OPA. Critics of the reserve study say it’s a very inexact tool, infected with guesswork and assumptions that bear little resemblance to what

happens in real time in Ocean Pines. One wag told Budget and Finance Committee chair during a meeting Aug. 3, when interactive reserve study software was on display with its eminent grise, DMA Associate’s Doug Greene on speakerphone, that the whole exercise seemed like a good example of “garbage in, garbage out.” The idea that the North Gate bridge might be replaced in 2021-22 could be an example of that. Defending the reserve study and Greene’s interactive software that purports to show balances of OPA reserve funds in the future under various spending scenarios, General Manager John Bailey insisted that it was a tool only, but a useful one. With respect to the North Gate bridge, he said it could easily be moved back, “even all the way back To Page 12



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makes one wonder if the Board’s OCEAN PINES decision (last August) was right and in level of funding,” itsimilar begs this question: Should Bailey Doug writes.continue That, at least, is Bailey’s Parks to be the spokesperview, as is his opinion that the OPA’s son for the Association?” Trendic roads reserve, at present, is undersaid, adding that he would request funded. a special meeting andthis “I point, intendconto “To further clarify sider thethis following. have 84 miles submit very We question before of roads. At hope an average the Board. My is that atcost leastof $400,000 per mile to mill and reone more director will side with my place, that comes to a total expendiconcern and join me byBailey requesting a ture of $33,6000,000,” writes. special board meeting. Or that Doug “Now consider a replaement plan thatdoreplaces every of 40 will what is inthe theroads best interest years. would still require the OPAThat community,” Trendic expenditure of $840,000 per year. He left the distinct impression We are only contributing $325,000 that he casino believes Parks should renow (in revenue).” signBailey as president, something which, says that if the OPA beas thisto edition of thedepreciation Progress wasin gins fund roads 2019-20,press as hetime, and the Budget and nearing Parks showed Finance Advisory Committee seem no sign of doing. to support, that would add another In a June 29 email to the Prog$224,000 to the roads reserve. q

12 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Parks’s remarks. In an email to local media, Trendic said the Parks quote referencing the polishing of bridge a turd was “absoNorth Gate lutely reprehensible.” From Page 10 Trendic said that this was “not to 2038. the“The first bridge time Doug used a strong structures themprofanity andand displayed his to bulselves are fine do not need be replaced ...” Bailey lying style. In onesaid. of the previous He seems well Doug awareused that the the poboard meetings, “f” litical consensus needed to replace word and other vulgar language the bridge -- at a cost of $1.6 million, that wasprobably witnessed by all adirectors it would require referenas well as our legal counsel. ISome was dum -- is no where in evidence. in Pines notodoubt will argue theOcean only director comment back that the iconic landmark needs only in writing about Doug’s behavior.” to be refreshed with new paint every According to Trendic, “Doug’s few years. comments and that, his behavior at SatOthers say as configured, urday’s board meeting illustrates the bridge feeds traffic out of Ocean Pines in a management single lane, contributing a certain style that to horrendous back-ups on Ocean I have NO intention of tolerating. Parkway on summer weekends. You might be interested to know “If the consensus two years from that islast year recommended now that theDoug replacement of the the Board consider censuring me North Gate is not yet ready for pro-

“With county pass-through fundceeding (given the complexity of ing of $56,880 in state gas tax revesuch a project and the necessary nue, “that would get us to $605,880 planning and and funding interac- ... still $234,000 shy of the $840,000 tion that will be necessary with the figure. Move the number of years for CRS, Associate Brokerthe 40 and state and county), then the road/ replacement to less than The Real Estate Market Is On The Move ... and You Can Be Too! bridge project would move back and underfunding becomes worse,” he be replaced with other road projects said.


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he Ocean Pines Association’s Web sites recently posted updates for June and July on the progress of the forensic audit of OPA operations. In July, the auditors: •Met with a WCBI (Worcester County Bureau of Investigation) detective to gather information on the county’s parallel investigation. •Read memorandum prepared by OPA employee who viewed portions of video from cameras in OPA administration building after discovery of missing deposits.

OPA releases updates on forensic audit activity •Viewed portions of video from cameras in OPA administration building for certain dates selected based upon timing of missing cash deposits (performed with WCBI detective at his office). Conducted interviews of three individuals (current employees). •Performed calculations of Food and Beverage department costs as a

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percentage of revenue for fiscal year 2017 and 2018, including analytical analyses of significant year-to-year variances. •Reviewed AMEX corporate credit card statements for three months selected in 2017 and review supporting documentation for selected transactions. •Reviewed of Food & Beverage inventory records maintained for selected months and related accounting adjustments recorded. •Conducted detailed testing of Yacht Club petty cash disbursements during fiscal year 2017 and reviewed petty cash accounting adjustments. •Continued analysis of daily Yacht Club and Beach Club sales and receipts, including examination of Point of Sales data, accounting records, and bank documents for two months selected during 2016. In June, the auditors:

•Conducted an analysis of receipted bank deposit slips from July and August 2017, including review of deposit dates, transaction dates, amounts, bank teller numbers, etc. in an effort to gather further information regarding missing deposits. •Continued analysis of daily Yacht Club sales and receipts, including examination of Point of Sales data, accounting records, and bank documents, and performed similar analyses of Marina and Golf sales receipts and deposits. •Obtained and reviewed Police Department communication log from July and August 2017 pertaining to transportation of deposits from the finance office to the bank, including identifying the officers assigned to that task. •Developed a timeline for missing deposits during July and August 2017 to determine specific dates when cash receipts went missing. •Reviewed available accounting records pertaining to new internal control procedures pertaining to q

14 Ocean Pines PROGRESS




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August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Bailey suggests ambiguity in OPA organizational docs on responsibility for drainage


Forensic audit From Page 14

bank deposits put into effect after discovery of missing deposits. •Conducted a detailed review of Food & Beverage expenses for FYE 4/30/17 and 4/30/18 and selected expense transactions to be tested and performed testing procedures to evaluate support for the transactions. •Performed search of general ledger transactions in an attempt to determine if payments were made to certain parties. •Reviewed supporting documentation related to May 2017 hourly employee payouts. •Conducted interviews of seven individuals including Department Heads, current and former employees. •Contacted Chris Hall of TGM to ask questions regarding TGM’s investigation and draft report. •Reviewed information provided to the auditors by various parties and began investigation of such information. •Conducted a detailed review and analysis of specific vendor activity.

ments of the various sections of Ocean Pines, Bailey said there are some sections where the association is responsible for maintaining the roadside ditches and in other sections where the association is technically not responsible for the stormwater management structures at all. Even within those two broad categories, there are additional legal issues about specific areas of responsibility, according to Bailey. “It seems there is indeed actually a legal and practical conundrum as to who is responsible for the drainage ditches. To put it simply the answer is a murky legal mess,” he said, adding “Now that’s as clear as the mud and the muck in the ditches, right?” That confusion regarding who is responsible for what and where has resulted in a delay in the drainage workgroup finalizing its report. Bailey said the OPA’s legal counsel is

studying the issue and he expected to receive a complete report from them in early August. In addition to addressing the issue of legal responsibility for maintenance of the ditches, Bailey said the drainage work-group’s final report will contain a variety of recommendations for operational and structural improvements as well as funding recommendations for inclusion in the OPA’s annual budget. Bailey said the drainage workgroup’s funding recommendations will include hiring additional personnel who will be dedicated to preventative and cycle maintenance of the miles of ditches that exist in Ocean Pines. Additionally, the work-group plans to suggest the OPA include in the budget funding to purchase GPS equipment, buy a second vacuum truck system for removing debris and leaves from the ditches,

and install pipes and contract for engineering services necessary to design improvements to the stormwater management system in Ocean Pines. Bailey said those expenditures recommended by the drainage workgroup will be included for board discussion as part of its annual budget review. Overall, the workgroup’s recommendations fall under five categories. The first focus area is emergency response to flooding when the community receives a significant amount of rain during a short period of time. Chronic areas of flooding were broken into two categories, those that require more effort to assess but do not need engineering design and pipe replacement, and those that require engineering and funding. Preventative maintenance is aimed at keeping stormwater problems from occurring within the community. The final focus area of education will inform property owners about Ocean Pines’ drainage, and what to do and not to do to ensure assist the OPA will managing the stormwater system, Bailey said.

Clear Comfort disinfection system to be installed this month at Sports Core pool By TOM STAUSS Publisher quatics Director Colby Phillips has confirmed that the long-awaited Clear Comfort system of disinfection is scheduled for installation at the indoor Sports Core pool later this month, during a period when the pool will be closed for several days for routine maintenance. The system was approved by the board during the 2018-19 budget process this past winter, but as a rental expense rather than a purchase, at Phillips’ recommendation. Improving air and water quality at the Sports Core pool has been a longterm objective of the Aquatics Advisory Committee, as well. It carries a rental expense of $5,000 per year. Phillips has said that if the system works as advertised, she would consider recommending it as a capital purchase item in 2018-19. The Clear Comfort system is an alternative to


• Attempted to speak with the detective from WCBI who investigated the missing deposits, left him a voicemail and sent an email.

traditional chlorination and is seen as a way to improve air quality in an enclosed pool environment, while reducing the number of partial or total pool dumps required to remove a heavily used indoor pool of a variety of contaminants. It produces hydroxyl radicals that function as fast-acting oxidizers that destroy a variety of pathogens, with minimal chlorination still required. According to Clear Comfort sales representatives, Chlorine costs are reduced by roughly 40 percent by the system. An ultra-violet cartridge used in the system needs to be replaced after 10,000 hours of use, roughly once a year, at a cost of about $2000 per cartridge. The system is said to require little maintenance, another than an annual check-up by a licensed installer. In August of last year, Phillips had indicated that she would probably be including a purchase request for the Clear Comfort system in the 2018-19 capital

• Based on interviews and information gathered to date, identified several other individuals who will be contacted for interviews.


ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer riginally due to present its final report to the Board of Directors last month, the Ocean Pines Association’s drainage work-group has been waylaid by legal ambiguities. General Manager John Bailey said the work-group found the OPA’s governing documents treat the responsibility for maintaining the ditches differently in various sections of the community. “The drainage working group started out with today as the day we would present our final report on drainage in Ocean Pines,” Bailey said during his general manager’s report at the July 27 board meeting. “While the draft report is under way the process slowed down because of a very interesting development,” he said. Based on the governing docu-


• Began investigating certain matters that go beyond food and beverage operations

16 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Bailey suggests moving bulkhead staging area from S&R Club Directors don’t respond to request for additional $25,000 to accommodate daily transport of equipment and materials from West Ocean City By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer aced with a litany of complaints from neighboring property owners about storage at the Swim and Racquet Club of equipment and materials used for bulkhead replacement in other sections of Ocean Pines, General Manager John Bailey said he is searching for somewhere to move it. The Ocean Pines Association is in the process of reviving its annual bulkhead replacement program and has contractors, Hi Tide Marine, working in the Wood Duck I section of the community. Bailey, as part of his general manager’s report during a July 27 Board of Directors meeting, preemptively acknowledged concerns of numerous nearby property owners, several of whom spoke later in the meeting, about storing project materials and equipment, including the contractor’s barge, at the Swim and Racquet Club. He said they are concerned and frustrated about the use of the area for the storage and staging area for the bulkhead project. Given this concern, Bailey said the OPA staff contacted Hi-Tide Marine, the current contractor, to call attention to particular safety concerns as well as to find out what additional cost would be incurred by the OPA if Hi-Tide could no longer use the Swim and Racquet Club area for storage and staging. He estimated that cost would be at least an additional 15 percent of the contract cost and would cover transporting materials from another location, such as the commercial harbor in West Ocean City, to complete the current contract. He added factors that might affect the estimated cost increase include the actual cost of the property lease and rental, the availability of locations, compliance with state and county regulations such as erosion and sediment control, and the actual distance from the staging area to the project. The current contract for bulkhead replacement on properties along West Mallard Drive is $167,000. The added cost for off-site materials storage and transport would be about $25,000, bringing the total


project cost to $192,000. For future projects, the cost per foot would vary according to the individual property on which the bulkheads were being replaced, Bailey said. Bailey asked the Board of Directors to consider allowing allocation of funds for off-site bulkhead storage and staging. He said funding is available in the budget for the bulkhead reserve for the cost of the bulkhead contract work. However, no money was intended to be used for storage and staging of materials and equipment. “Even so I am recommending board direct the general manager to act with haste to make this change in land use,” he said, adding in September, the board can consider a formal resolution adopting such a policy preventing use of the Swim and Racquet Club area for such a purpose. Additionally, the OPA issues a Request for Proposals for the next phase of bulkhead work, it can include language to either limit the Swim and Racquet area use to October 1 to April 1 or to no use of it at all, he said. Providing the cost alternatives for other areas will help everyone clearly see the cost of not using this area for the bulkhead project staging and storage area, as well as the impact it could have on the bulkhead reserve, Bailey said. The board did not respond to Bailey’s request for an additional $25,000 in funds. During the public comments section of the July 27 meeting, Lewis Frey, who lives near the Swim and Racquet Club said residents have been promised again and again by OPA management that the site will no longer be used as part of the bulkhead program. Frey said the last general manager and several board members, including some still sitting on the governing body, “told me the site at the Swim and Racquet Club wouldn’t be used for materials and equipment storage again. But it keeps coming back.” He pleaded with the board to give Bailey permission to expend the funds necessary to move the staging area.

“Give the guy the money,” Frey said. Property owner Joe Reynolds agreed. “Those people have been putting up with that for at least 15 years. A number of boards have said they were going to stop it,” he said, adding, “I don’t know what answer is. The answer may be money if we’re prepared to pay it.” Still, Reynolds cautioned that the cost of storing materials off site for the bulkhead replacement will add up quickly. “We’re talking about replacing many, many miles of bulkheads in Ocean Pines. And the cost to do that from a remote location is probably in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars over time. Big money. Very big money,” he said. Reynolds suggested talking with Worcester County officials about using area near the wastewater treatment plan for storage and staging. He said that had been discussed in the past but he’s not sure anyone with the OPA ever approached the county about it. “It would be an ideal solution,” he said, adding that area is already used for service-related activities. “I was one of the people that vowed the equipment would not come back there to the Swim and

Clear Comfort system From Page 15 budget, after discussing the matter with General Manager John Bailey. The two settled on the lease option instead, in part because new capital expenditures in Ocean Pines are more difficult to shepherd through the OPA budget process. Previously agnostic on the system, Phillips seemed far more supportive of it during the August meeting of the aquatics committee last year because of the frequency in which partial dumps of the Sports Core pool have been required because of the increased use of that pool, especially by large impact groups such as swim teams. Partial pool dumps now occur once a month or every other month, effectively closing the pool for days

Racquet Club,” Brett Hill, former OPA director and acting general manager, said. He said the plan was to use an area between Wood Duck I and Wood Duck II as the staging area for the current bulkhead replacement project that area because that’s where the work is actually being done. “So that equipment should never be there,” Hill said, adding he doesn’t know who changed that after the request for proposals for the project was drafted. Frey said it is dangerous, unsightly, and inappropriate to store and stage materials for the bulkhead replacement program on that site. “I think it’s probably one of the busiest places in Ocean Pines.” He cited a variety of issues, including children playing of the equipment and barge, narrow roadway used by pedestrians, bicyclists, and dog-walkers, large truck traffic, and incompatibility with all of the other recreational activities in the area. “You can’t stop all of this so you just have to get rid of the problem. This is probably the easiest problem to solve today,” he told the board. Property owner Doris Lloyd echoed Frey’s comments, and said she has spotted children playing on the barge when it’s docked at the Swim and Racquet Club. “It has been there and I have called the company because children do climb on it,” she said. Lloyd warned that similar complaints would occur if the staging area was moved anywhere in the Wood Duck Isle vicinity.

at a time or making it uncomfortable for patrons as water temperatures take several days to warm back up to the 80-plus degrees that is typical. If the system performs as she hopes, she has said the number and frequency of pool dumps will be reduced. She expressed concern about the exposure of staff, swim team members and regular pool users to airborne chloramines produced by the traditional chlorine-based system. Anyone with respiratory problems can find breathing in an enclosed environment such as the Sports Core pool difficult. Nasal congestion and drip is another frequent complaint of users of an indoor pool. Because of the substantial reduction in chlorine usage, the Clear Comfort system is also credited with reducing skin irritation.

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


18 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Moroney, former acting GM spar over bulkhead contracts By TOM STAUSS Publisher ormer Acting General Manager Brett Hill last month implicitly criticized his successor, John Bailey, for relaunching the bulkhead replacement program using a previously discontinued staging area at the Swim and Racquet Club. Nearby residents have been vocal in criticizing the reintroduction of equipment and materials from the Swim and Racquet Club campus, last seen in the waning days of the Bob Thompson administration in the fall of 2016. One of Hill’s first actions as acting general manager in the fall of

written on it.” Thompson was roundly criticized at the time for allowing a very relaxed relationship with Fisher to continue without a formal bid process in place. Residents were also up in arms about the untidy appearance of the Swim and Racquet Club campus where the contractor had stored materials and equipment. Fast forward two years later and the same situation has recurred, although Hi-Tide’s staging area seems relatively tidy given its function. Residents are concerned about the dangers that equipment and materials pose for kids. Neighborhood residents are in-

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2016 was to make sure the equipment and materials were removed from the area. Subsequently, Hill entered into an agreement with Hi-Tide Marine Construction on a temporary basis to take over the OPA’s bulkhead repair and replacement program when, Hill told the Progress in an Aug. 7 telephone interview, the prior contractor, Fisher Marine, told Hill what he could do with the contract. Hill recalled that the earlier arrangement with Fisher Marine was, in his and the view of certain directors at the time, problematic, essentially “an annual renewal on a napkin with a cost per linear foot

censed about the reintroduction of the staging area, something that Hill said during the July 27 meeting of the Board of Directors that he had “vowed” two years ago would not happen again. The contractor this time around is Hi-Tide Marine Construction at the same Swim and Racquet Club site, albeit with the permission of Bailey, who succeeded Hill as general manager last fall. Following the July 27 board meeting, Hill followed up on remarks he made during the meeting’s Public Comments segment by providing documentation showing that a Request for Proposals issued early last year had explicitly stated that the staging area was to be moved from Swim and Racquet to the grand canal area along Ocean Parkway near Wood Duck Isle I and II. The board in July voted to award a one-year contract to Hi-Tide, but no contract based on that award and the request for proposal (RFP) that proceeded it was ever consummated. At the time, the board explicitly indicated it did not want to enter into a five-year agreement, but only a one-year deal for emergency repairs. Hill resigned from the board in September, and Bailey shortly thereafter assumed the mantle of general manager. It was not until early this year that a new, temporary one-year “emergency repair” contract with Hi-Tide was executed, apparently without any reference to relocating the staging area to Wood Duck Isle from Swim and Racquet. Hill’s comments and documentation generated a testy response from Director Ted Moroney, who criticized the fall, 2016, agreement


between Hill and Hi-Tide for a number of deficiencies. He said it had not been approved by the board nor reviewed by legal counsel, and seemed to designate Hi-Tide as the OPA’s “preferred contractor” for bulkhead repair and re-

placement for a period of five years. He said that terms such as “preferred contractor” were not defined and that the agreement contained vague cancellation provisions. Citing the July 2017 board vote approving a new one-year contract with Hi-Tide, with a potential two-year extension, Moroney then seemed to conflate the expired 2016

agreement with the one approved but never executed in July of last year. “Obviously, one would wonder if we have a five-year contract with Hi-Tide, why would we enter a new contract with the same company (for one year)?” Moroney said in an email distributed to the local media and his board colleagues.


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He said it “does not appear that that the board was aware of the terms and conditions or, from what I am led to believe, even the existence of the 10/5/16 contract and as such considered this the agreement going forward. “No contract based on [the July 2017] motion was ever entered into,

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Bulkhead contracts From Page 19

nor were negotiations conducted, with Hi-Tide” while Hill was acting general manager, Moroney said. Hill told the Progress that Moroney is misrepresenting what the board knew in July of 2017. He said he had informed his colleagues of the emergency agreement with Hi-Tide in the fall of 2016 and that the RFP and board vote in July

was done with the explicit understanding that a new one-year agreement would be executed to replace the one from 2016. Hill recalled that the board explicitly rejected the idea of a five-year contract, despite his preference for one. “To answer Ted’s question, the board voted for a new one-year contract with Hi-Tide because they offered the best price per linear foot, with the cost of vinyl only a dollar more than wood had cost in the 2016

contract,” Hill said. “Obviously, the board was well aware of what they were voting on in July of last year. Ted wasn’t on the board at the time and has no way to know what directors thought they were voting on.” According to Moroney, Ocean Pines management approached HiTide in September or October of last year “to terminate the five-year contract” and replace it with a case-bycase project agreement for emergency repairs until a new RFP could be

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issued for a multi-year replacement program. It’s taken quite some time for that to happen. Hill doesn’t dispute that this occurred. The pending RFP contains options for continued use of the Swim and Racquet Club staging area yearround, from October through April, or not at all. The latter option could mean that the contract would transport mateq

20 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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Bulkhead contracts

Alternatives to S&R Club staging area surface

From Page 20

rials and equipment from a home base daily, a process that Bailey said would raise the cost considerably. Hill told the Progress that an obvious alternative to using the Swim and Racquet Club site for staging would be for a contractor to locate one or two barges in canals or the bay close to where work is scheduled. “If it’s not tied to a bulkhead, a contractor can anchor barges anywhere in navigable waters,” Hill said. “What Bailey said about the need to transport materials and equipment from West Ocean City to Ocean Pines on a daily basis isn’t correct.” Former OPA director Marty Clarke made a similar point during a recent meeting of the OPA’s Budget and Finance Advisory Committee. He said a barge can be leased relatively cheaply. Hill said that Moroney’s response to Hill’s public comments and his subsequent documentation proving that the Swim and Racquet Club

By TOM STAUSS Publisher cean Pines resident and owner Joe Reynolds suggested during the Public Comments segment of the July 27 Board of Directors meeting that the OPA should consider asking Worcester County for permission to locate a bulkhead replacement staging area on county-owned land at the Ocean Pines wastewater treatment plant just north of Route 90. In an email response to that suggestion, OPA Director Ted Moroney said that county officials would be approached to see if that location would be feasible. Reports that the county had been asked previously whether it would be willing to consider the idea, and rebuffed the request, could not be verified, he said. Another suggestion for an alternative to a staging area at the Swim and Racquet Club came from former OPA Director Marty Clarke at an Aug. 3 meeting of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee. Clarke suggested that Hi-Tide locate a barge in the area where replacement work is focused. “They (barges) can be rented,” Clarke said, and then can be moved when replacement work shifts to other areas. He acknowledged that residents won’t be pleased whenever a barge containing materials for bulkhead replacement is in their neighborhood, but he said the aesthetic inconvenience would be a small price to pay for needed bulkhead replacement. The issue of how to respond to residents’ complaints about the Swim and Racquet Club staging area is now in the hands of a new board that will organize this month.


was not an option as a staging area was an underhanded attempt to divert attention away from the fact that the OPA approved it anyway. “I don’t know under whose [authority] that changed, but the board I was on made that agreement, and that’s the bid we put out [in 2017]

and voted on,” Hill said. In his email response to Hill, Moroney did not explain why, in talks with Hi-Tide last year, OPA management did not make it clear that Swim and Racquet could not be used for staging. He told the Progress after the

July 27 meeting that he suspects that a staging area in Wood Duck Isle would meet the same kind of objections as has occurred among residents whose properties adjoin the Swim and Racquet Club. “Especially if it’s within view of Ocean Parkway,” Moroney added.

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BY TOM STAUSS Publisher or retiring Ocean Pines Association Director Tom Herrick, three years of service to the OPA had its highs and lows. It can be gruelling, frustrating labor, definitely not for the faint of heart. He’s “very relieved” his term is over and not in the least sorry he decided not to seek re-election this summer. “My high point on the board was definitely spent during the beginning of my term serving as president for the Association,” his second year on the board, Herrick said in a recent interview. “Although I accepted the position reluctantly, I did enjoy serving in this capacity during the period in which the board members were very effective in addressing many of our pressing issues.” Herrick said looking back he’s “proud to say, we as a board, working cohesively with the [acting general manager), managed to renovate the Beach Club bathrooms, installed a new playground in Manklin Meadows, completely renovated Huntington Park, redecorated the inside and outside of the Yacht Club facility, including the removal of the terrible odor emanating from the bathrooms, provided eight dedicated outdoor pickleball courts and two new platform tennis courts, made much needed and neglected improvements to the Country Club.” He cited mold remediation, drainage issues, repairs to the leaky roof, complete renovation to the downstairs bathrooms, refurbishng of locker rooms, and Tern Grille improvements. He also mentioned a change in golf course maintenance personnel that he said had greatly improved the playing conditions on the course. “So many positive changes to our community, in such a short time. Many long overdue. In addition, during this time, many discrepancies in the manner our association handled our finances and cash procedures were discovered, and were reported, which have resulted in ongoing criminal investigations and subsequently the onset of a forensic audit being approved and conducted. Hopefully, this process will ultimately provide some answers to the association membership of what had transpired in our past accounting practices,” Herrick said. All was not a walk in the park, however. “One of my early low points was the failure of the board to pass my



August 2018

Herrick recalls high, low points of three years as OPA director Points to record of accomplishment in single year as president, contrasts it with final year motion back in January 2016 to establish an advisory body to investigate and provide information relative to the feasibility and value of employing a professional community management firm to oversee our affairs. This motion was specific to my concerns relative to the possibility of our general manager leaving or being removed from his position of office and the Board’s obligation to prepare and protect our association from any scenarios that might occur,” Herrick said. “Unfortunately, this motion failed 4-3.” Herrick said passage of this motion “would have provided information to possibly establish the feasibility and value of entering into a long- or short-term solution in the event the association was in need of alternative management ... which subsequently was, in fact, needed.” Herrick said another low in his term was “the total dysfunction of the board during the second half of my term as president, which led to in-fighting, turmoil, and ultimately led to a board decision which deprived the acting general manager of [the ability to fulfill] his duties as chief administrative officer of the association, without prior approval from the board to do so.” According to Herrick, Acting General Manager Brett Hill on two separate occasions asked the board “to bring in much needed professional consultants to assist and provide advice in regard to our food and beverage operations.” He said that Hill also asked for “special consideration be given to exploring [the option of] bringing in a professional finance firm to straighten out the glaring deficiencies in our cash management and accounting procedures.” To Herrick’s disappointment, “the board failed to authorize approval for either of these two rectifying actions to be taken. Yet when they themselves were totally responsible for what then subsequently transpired on both of these issues, several board members and subsequently a hand-picked board member who was not even involved during the process, actually made public allegations that, somehow, Hill was the one at fault. Sad,” Herrick said. He contrasted his year as pres-

ident working with Hill as acting general manager to this past year, his final one as a director. “No major projects have been completed this year,” Herrick said, “a glaring difference.” With all that as a backdrop, he said that he is “very relieved my term is over. Hopefully I will get back to enjoying the great retirement life Ocean Pines affords our membership.” He said he has no regrets not seeking re-election to the board. “I need some time to decompress for a while, but may consider some re-engagement and may become involved in Ocean Pines policy issues in the future,” he said. Herrick said that in his former career in law enforcement he was accustomed to working in concert with a group of individuals with a common goal. “Although we may have had our differences from time to time, a common respect of individual opinion was prevalent. I found that during my time on the board, certain directors, at times, pushed for a specific agenda, depriving others the opportunity to acquire information needed to help make informed decisions.” He suggested that pushing agendas “is somewhat a reflection of some in our community. Elections are held each year, as a result the board makeup continually changes, and “the result is an unstable form of government for the community.” He said annual elections and constant turn-over on the board “may need to be addressed at some point in time by the membership with a review of our governing documents.” He recalls that in his first year on the board, former General Manager Bob Thompson presented a capital improvement plan that proposed “the community spend $9.3 million in years 2018 and 2019.” Over ten years, the plan “envisioned the expenditure of nearly $30 million,” Herrick said. During his term as president, Herrick said the trend “was reversed as management focused on renovating our physical assets in a fiscally responsible manner.” Herrick indicated he’s worried that the pendulum could be swing-

ing back in the direction of expensive capital projects. “With four directors’ positions open for election this year, it is a toss-up to where we will be heading in the near future. Some candidates are already calling for an increased assessment rate and a larger contribution to our reserves without any capital improvement plan approved in place to justify doing so,” he said. Herrick continues to regret resistance on the board to his call for a request for proposals for the possible outsourcing of professional financial services for the OPA. “I understand one of our board members recently made a statement critical of those who ‘have little knowledge about’ (certain issues) and ‘offer uninformed opinions that ultimately have stalled the process. That’s wasteful of peoples time and totally unproductive,’” Herrick said, adding that “I totally disagree with that line of thinking. Information is extremely important to gain the knowledge needed to make an informed decision.” He continues to promote the issuance of an RFP for professional finance services “to provide the information needed so a proper determination may be made to best fit the needs of our community. To deprive other board members the opportunity for that information to be gathered was a complete injustice to our membership. “I am hopeful and strongly urge the new board members to push hard for this additional information and understand the common sense to ascertain all pertinent information before committing to such an important decision,” Herrick said.
“ “Failing to issue an RFP for financial management outsourcing “would be moving forward with a tunnel vision-like attitude, allowing other board members to force their elitist thought process upon them, which should never be tolerated by anyone,” Herrick said. He also decried the slow progress on the renovation of the second floor of the Country Club. “Last year’s board agreed on plans for the [Country Club that] were widely distributed for the q

22 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Pines Police Department as an alternative to renovating within the existing footprint, an approach the board under Herrick’s leadership as president had informally agreed to. “It’s difficult to provide a valid opinion on the new changes to these plans without receiving all appropriate plan changes with the comparative associated costs for the revised project plan,” Herrick

said. He complained about an apparent decision to move ahead with a sole-source contract with Mediacom to provide dedicated high-speed connectivity with the county’s emergency dispatch system in Snow Hill. “I now understand this project is 95 percent complete. I have requested from the GM a copy of the signed contract for these services. Have not received a reply on my request as of


yet. It will be interesting to observe the date it was signed and why the board was not notified, particularly with all the press coverage this issue has received,” Herrick said. He called it “an additional abhorrent lack of transparency towards the board, if [a project agreement] was signed with Mediacom without board notification.” He compared it to “lack of notifica-




Tom Herrick membership to observe and provide comment on. In July of last year, several board members requested to delay the project until a new board and general manager was in place. This project then sat idle until January 2018, when additional funds were requested to be allocated for yet another new set of plans and drawings,” Herrick said. An RFP was subsequently issued based on these plans “and the resulting cost estimates skyrocketed,” Herrick said. “After additional debate, changes were again made to the plans and yet another new set of drawings were contracted out (again at another additional expense). The community membership at large has not had the opportunity to comment on this last set of changes.” Herrick said that he and Director Slobodan Trendic recently requested that the board delay the issuance of the new RFP for a few weeks to allow both the membership and the newly elected board members to review the changes and provide input on the updated plans. “The rest of our fellow board members did not see this option as fitting and the RFP is to be issued on Aug. 10, the day election results are to be announced,” Herrick said. “Hopefully the newly constructed board will review what has transpired and Like us on will provide additional input to the project with full transparency to our membership.” He declined comment on a recent disclosure that Bailey supports expansion of the Administration Building to accommodate the Ocean

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August 2018

Tom Herrick From Page 23 tion to the board when the contract to remove the geese was signed.” Herrick said he is hopeful the board in the coming year will “strongly consider incorporating a fully funded, ongoing, maintenance program to provide safe, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing facilities for our owners, residents, and guests to enjoy.” He said he “personally requested this much needed program to be included in the budget for this current year, my only request to the GM when asked. Unfortunately it was not included,” Herrick said. The retiring director expressed appreciation “to all the members in our community who have supported me over the past three years. I have tried my best to serve you, while always cognizant of the differing opinions within our community ....” While he said his three years on the board were “extremely frustrating” at times, “I feel that many positive changes were made during my tenure and the foundation has been put in place for much more positive change to continue.”

Board to move forward with RFP for crabbing pier replacement Nature preserve proposal offered by residents gains traction By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer espite objections from a majority of property owners in Whitetail Sanctuary, the Ocean Pines Association is moving forward with a request for proposals for replacement of the derelict crabbing pier located in that section of the community. The Board of Directors decided during a July 27 meeting to continue with the RFP process as part of an information gathering exercise as they debate whether to replace the pier, build a new one somewhere else, or convert the existing site to a nature preserve. The latter idea gain considerable traction last month when a group of Whitetail Sanctuary homeowners showed up at the July 27 meeting to argue against rebuilding the pier. Residents said that more of roughly 50 homeowners surveyed, more than 40 favor a nature preserve as an alternative to the crabbing pier. Residents, complaining of unpleasant and unregulated activities at the pier before it was declared


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off limits, alleged late night parties, public urination and sexual activity, and illegal parking on private property, among other nuisances. Since the pier has been closed to the public, these behaviors have been substantially reduced, residents say. Last month, the board directed OPA General Manager John Bailey to develop the RFP and submit it to directors for review by Aug. 31. Director Ted Moroney said the OPA could continue with the RFP for replacement of the pier as previously approved by the board or look for other potential locations, but it needs to make that decision based on a thorough review of available information. Therefore, Moroney said he supported continuing with the RFP process. Moroney added that the board needs to weigh its options for making the amenity legally accessible and usable by the greatest number of owners possible in Ocean Pines and address risk management and handicapped accessibility issues that exist with the current structure. He said the board needs to “make a long term decision moving forward and to q

26 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

BOARD OF DIRECTORS From Page 26 make that on all the information.” Director Slobodan Trendic, who made the motion last month to proceed with drafting the RFP, said his motion also included reaching out to residents of the Whitetail Sanctuary to get their input on the issue because “we didn’t want to make a decision in a vacuum.” He said he is glad residents were able to organize a meeting to discuss the issue and provide feedback to the board. That feedback seems to have shifted in favor of a wildlife sanctuary, though that sentiment is by no means unanimous. But the Public Comments segment of the July 27 meeting was packed with homeowners from the Whitetail Sanctuary pressing for that option. Trendic said the ability of Bailey and his staff to write an RFP is limited if they don’t know what they will be building or where. He asked how the OPA could move forward with the RFP process with those limitations. Director Cheryl Jacobs also questioned the need to move forward with developing the RFP when the OPA hasn’t yet explored other potential locations in the community for a crabbing pier. “One of the things I think we have an issue with the RFP is that we don’t know where it might go if we move it.” She said the location will be a factor in the construction cost of any new pier. Jacobs suggested it may be appropriate to delay the due date for the RFP until the board has that information. “I’m not sure that can all be worked out by the August 31 deadline.” Bailey said staff has started reviewing other potential sites for a crabbing pier, including at the Swim and Racquet Club, but no one has yet spoken with the Department of Natural Resources or Worcester County about those particular sites. He said the RFP is “basically ready to go” for replacement of the pier where it is currently located. Bailey suggested the OPA could use the RFP to get information about that option for the project and then look at other sites. “We directed the GM to put out an RFP. To me at this point all it really does is get us information,” said OPA President Doug Parks. He said the RFP will provide one piece of the information the board needs


Whitetail Sanctuary residents call for removal of floating crabbing pier Creation of nature preserve proposed; S&R club park suggested as alternative site By ROTA L. KNOTT Contributing Writer hile Ocean Pines Association officials continue to ponder what to do with a crabbing pier located in Whitetail Sanctuary, property owners of that section have come up with a plan, creation of a nature preserve instead and relocating the crabbing pier. The group of residents recently held a community meeting, took a vote, and decided they want the pier gone. Of 49 property owners who participated, 41 agreed that the floating pier should be removed and the area for the most part left in a natural state. They showed up in large numbers at the July 27 meeting of the Board of Directors and took turns during Public Comments to express their views. Property owner Mike Gallello said the crabbing pier was originally designed for the sole use of Whitetail Sanctuary residents, with pedestrian easements for neighborhood walking and bicycle access, However, since the property was turned over to the OPA in 2001, its neighbors have been plagued by problems with usage by residents of the larger Ocean Pines community, a lack of parking, people trespassing on private property, alcohol and drug use, littering, and a host of other issues, he said. “The general consensus for Whitetail Sanctuary residents is we like the idea of a crabbing pier in our neighborhood. That’s what attracted us to the community in the first place. So we don’t blame the overall sentiment of saving the pier. But the difference is the pier is in our back yard. And some of the individuals who want to save it don’t live here to experience the problems we have,” Galello said. He said the crabbing pier was built in 1997 and it hasn’t been maintained since, even after it was turned over to the OPA. “The amenity has been forgotten by OPA probably because it is located a sixth of a mile into the wetlands from the entrance. Out of sight, out of mind,” he added. The pier currently is closed to public access because of safety concerns. But when it was open and posted for use from dawn to dusk for Ocean Pines residents and their guests, Galello said there were people on it all the



Crabbing pier

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

in order to make a decision on the issue – the cost of replacing the existing pier on the same site. “We’re not going to take any action at that point,” he said, adding it will allow the board to use that information during its deliberations. Parks said the original motion that was passed in June simply said to develop and RFP for replacement of the pier but it didn’t specify where. Moroney concurred that the motion simply called for pier replacement, with no restriction on the location. “You have some flexibility,” he said. Trendic, however, said his motion ad been specific to replacing the crabbing pier on the existing site and to bring it into compliance with current safety current standards. He said the motion was developed with the intent of replacing it where it is. Relocating the pier presents an entirely different set of challenges from both a cost and design perspective, he said. Instead of proceeding with the RFP as originally intended, he suggested modifying it in response the proposal presented by Whitetail Sanctuary residents to eliminate

the floating pier and just replace the fixed structure on the shoreline. That work probably wouldn’t even require county or state permit, he argued. Bailey concurred and said “I don’t know that would require an RFP to do that. A lot of that would be done in-house as far as changing things around.” Directors thanked the numerous residents of Whitetail Sanctuary, who were in the audience and spoke during the public comments section of the agenda, for their input and recommendations on the crabbing pier. Jacobs praised residents for coming up with a potential solution to the dilemma. “That’s really wonderful when the community does something like that instead of just complaining,” she said. Trendic agreed and told the Whitetail Sanctuary resident that the board “learned a lot from you today…” He suggested the board could immediately act on the group’s recommendation to eliminate the floating crabbing pier and create a nature preserve in the area instead.

He said the board could decouple a new crabbing pier at a different location from the rest of the project. That project would then become an “entirely different conversation with different questions,” he said. But, he added, some of the same issues that plague the crabbing pier would still exist if the land were converted to a nature preserve, including problems with non-residents of the section parking in inappropriate areas. “How do we prevent an ongoing parking problem with something like that? If it does become popular ... it sounds like it’s a phenomenal idea.” But Moroney recommended that the general manager continue preparing the RFP as originally instructed, adding that a new board will be in place in August and it can decide whether to move forward with posting the RFP. Parks lauded the Whitetail Sanctuary residents for their actions and said it was a great example of a group bringing and issue to the forefront and helping to find a solution. He encouraged continued dialog so the board can ultimately make a “very intelligent, long term decision” on the crabbing pier.


August 2018

Board resists push by IT advisor to approve management software recommended by Technology Group New board to decide fate of NorthStar proposal By TOM STAUSS Publisher last-ditch effort by the Ocean Pins Association’s paid information technology advisor failed to persuade the Board of Directors to take up and approve a proposal pushed by the OPA’s Technology Working Group for a management software solution offered by NorthStar Technologies. IT advisor Len Smith noticed that the board’s agenda for the July 27 monthly meeting, the last offical meeting of the 2017-18 term, did not include a vote on the NorthStar software. He wrote the directors urging them to reconsider, predicting dire consequences for the OPA if a decision was delayed and telling them he would resign if they didn’t act on his request. Smith was hitting his head against a solid wall of opposition to


Nature preserve From Page 27 time after dark. He estimated that 25 to 40 percent of the people using the pier to crab aren’t even Ocean Pines residents. He said it has gotten overcrowded with 18 to 20 people on it at a time because there is no maximum capacity posted. The pier isn’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said. “The purpose of today’s meeting is not about taking away an enjoyable amenity from our OPA members. It’s about sharing 18 years’ worth of experiences to help the board make an informed decision, and not to potentially waste our hard earned money and rebuild the same mistake,” Galello told the board. In lieu of rebuilding the crabbing pier, Galello said a majority of Whitetail Sanctuary property owners would like to have the area converted to a nature preserve. He suggested the OPA could remove the floating pier, install a railing along the elevated boardwalk, and create a maintained pathway with a boardwalk and mulch. The nature preserve would be a walking and bicycling accessible area. “We feel this proposal addresses

a July vote on the NorthStar proposal, led by two directors, Slobodan Trendic and Tom Herrick, and at least four of the candidates running for the board this summer. Only Ted Moroney, an appointed director who is seeking a three-year board term this summer, among the candidates seemed somewhat inclined to support the NorthStar proposal this past month, but he didn’t press for a vote at the July 27 meeting. Indeed, another NorthStar advocate, OPA General Manager John Bailey, signalled in his July 27 general manager’s report that a vote on NorthStar or perhaps a competing proposal would be delayed in order to give a company affiliated with Legum and Norman, a regional homowner association management company owned by Texas-based conglomerate Associa, Inc., an opportunity to demonstrate its software to

the Technology Working Group, interested members of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee, board members and OPA staffers. Bailey also said that Associa’s software development division, ATG, would be asked to supply detailed cost information for its software, something he said so far has not been produced by Associa or any of its subsidiaries. He suggested that under some circumstances the omission of such cost data would have been grounds to reject the company’s proposal out of hand. He in effect said that political realities, the desire by some directors and candidates to fully explore alternatives to NorthStar, forced a more lenient treatment of Associa and its subsidiaries. Bailey said that he hopes the new board with at least three new directors will schedule a vote on the

all of the concerns brought forth in the last month’s public meeting,” he said. Bob Hillegass said there are serious safety and parking concerns in Whitetail Sanctuary because of the presence of the pier. While the original developer used the pier as a marketing tool to help sell lots, he said, it was touted for use of residents of that section only. But after taking it over in 2007, the OPA installed directional signage for the amenity and that created an influx of cars and usage of the pier. He said the OPA opened it to use by everyone in Ocean Pines without providing parking so those from outside of Whitetail Sanctuary park in residents driveways or along the shoulders of the road. Hillegass said the OPA could incur liability if someone is injured at the crabbing pier, which isn’t monitored by OPA staff. Cheryl Bissell supported the concept of a nature preserve. “The idea is to be a passive consumer of Mother Nature. And Mother Nature’s come back” just during that last few months that the pier has been closed. She said the nature preserve could include an observation area

and educational signage about the area. She argued that grant funds may be available to help cover the cost of the proposed project. Brent Lounge said he lives 150 feet from the crabbing pier’s entrance. “I see each and every day what goes on. The problems with parking. You literally have one parking spot. One. In front of that entrance.” He suggested eliminating the pier and building a new one at the Swim and Racquet Club where there is plenty of parking. Another property owner said she has been trying to sell her lot in Whitetail Sanctuary but she can’t because of the situation with the pier. People using the pier park all over her property. “It has depreciated in value because of that pier and the parking being there. Also, the bike rack is on my property. It’s not on the Sanctuary property. And it should be moved ...” she said. Tom Bissell said when he bought his home the entrance to the pier was located on Piedmont Court but in 2004 it was moved in front of his house. “If I would have known they were going to move this pier in front of my house I would have never bought that property. I don’t think anybody

NorthStar management software in September, no later than October, in order to have it available for a rollout over the winter. That presumes, of course, that the NorthStar solution is embraced by the new board, which is hardly a given. The omission of the NorthStar proposal from the July 27 agenda triggered a concerned letter from information technlogy consultant Len Smith, who has been assisting the OPA’s Technology Working Group initially established by OPA President Doug Parks in evaluating various management software alternatives. He also has been responsible for operating and supporting the software currently used by the OPA to operate much of its operations, LANSA and RecWare. “While I realize that there are a few homeowners in the community who oppose this action, I urge you to approve the purchase on [July 27], so that OPA can begin immediately to implement the new software, and successfully complete a professional implementation for smooth 2019 season. Any delay in this vote involves multiple risks for the assoq

28 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

would have bought that property,” he said, adding that said his front yard has become an auxiliary parking lot for the crabbing pier. “I have endured 13 years of headaches there during the summer. But this year, because the pier is closed it’s been beautiful,” he said. Not everyone who offered public comments at the board meeting wanted the crabbing pier removed. Maureen Crespo argued for rebuilding it at the existing location. She said it is used by many families and children. “I don’t understand why you would be taking that away,” she said, arguing there is no other public access to the water in South Ocean Pines. “You’re taking all the water away from children.” Crespo said there is always an adult present with children using the pier and she has never seen any inappropriate activity at the pier. Another resident, Doreen Angelo, also dissented from the prevailing sentiment, saying she was “shocked that it’s come to this.” She argued for repairing the crabbing pier. “So if we’re all about the children, then let’s really be about the children and fix the pier,” she said.


ciation and the homeowners,” Smith wrote. He told the directors that if they failed to act during the July 27 meeting, “the new Board will need time to organize itself, pick an approach to the HOA software issue (and other issues), execute that plan, make a selection decision, and generally spend months to get to the point that the current board has achieved today. That delay will likely be compounded by the limits on when we can install/train/launch a new software system (fall and winter) and probably cause another year of delay to avoid disrupting the season by introducing new software too close to the summer.” He dismissed the opinions of those who have argued that the OPA could live with its current software for one more year in order to give the new board time to explore alternatives, including the possibility of outsourcing back office financial operations to a company such as Associa’s Legum and Norman. Opponents of the NorthStar option “are not as close to the current system problems as I am. Just in the past sixty days, we have experienced multiple outages in both LANSA and RecWare,” he wrote in his letter. “In the days prior to Memorial Day weekend, one of the three membership stations in the front office was not usable because of an error in the LANSA software, which made the system unable to print membership or coupon cards. Because the workflow of LANSA is so tightly integrated, this meant that the entire station was inoperative, reducing the ability of the team to meet customer demand in the busiest week of the year.” Smith also said that right before the July 4 holiday, “the server hardware that runs the RecWare system failed. We had to work for three days to assemble a new server, transfer software, achieve network connectivity, restore the database from a backup, and reconfigure the systems in Rec & Parks to use the new server. During that time, the R&P staff had no access to information about enrollments, registration or payments for events, courses or the daily Summer Camp that OPA runs for children.” Smith said the OPA’s business relationship with BDK, the support firm that operates LANSA and provides the software, continues to be

problematic. “They have refused to negotiate our proposal for a new contract, although they are currently providing us the discounts we would receive if the contract was in effect. So while we are saving money, we do not know why and we have no contractual protection for those rates or any other elements of the relationship,” Smith wrote. “More importantly, our requests for routine support assistance are going un- and under-addressed, sometimes for days and even weeks. Some of these are small problems (one user this week had to borrow

another user’s account for two days because BDK dragged their feet on fixing the issue) and others are large ones (the membership station outage described above was caused by BDK and took a week to get fixed),” he added, Smith argued that any decision approving the NorthStar proposals “adds risk to the project in terms of quality and cost, if the team is forced to try to squeeze the work into a shorter implementation window.” Smith said if “NorthStar effort stalls, my involvement will end. I swear I am not lobbying to protect my job or income, but the Board


should realize that you have invested good money in training me about the Pines’ systems and processes, and I have integrated that knowledge with my experience in analysis, data bases and project management. That resource is available to you if you care to use it.” According to Smith, outages with the OPA’s systems “have been for only a few days. The departmental staff [has]worked through them, and the IT staff have recovered from them. But I am very concerned that OPA may experience a major failure (in software, in a system, in our q

Management software

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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30 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

County closes offices at Isle of Wight


orcester County closed the Development Review and Permitting and Environmental Programs satellite offices at the Isle of Wight office complex in Bishopville effective the end of June. The Worcester County Commissioners determined is was necessary to close the DRP and Environmental Programs operations at this satellite office because they were underutilized and costly. These two departments were consolidated within the Worcester County Government Center in Snow Hill as of July 2. The Treasurer’s Office and Health Department continue to operate offices at the Isle of Wight Office Complex. A “drop box” for documents and submittals to DRP and Environmental Programs is located in the Treasurer’s Office at the Isle of Wight building.


Jacobs expresses disappointment that board didn’t vote on NorthStar software proposal

etiring Director Cheryl Jacobs, in her last meeting as a member of the Board of Directors, expressed disappointment in the failure of the board to vote on a proposal by the Technology Working Group and consultant Len Smith at the board’s July 27 monthly meeting. She sparred with director Slobodan Trendic on the merits of holding a vote on the NorthStar Technologies’s software solution during the meeting. Trendic said a vote was premature, that the new board that will organize later this month should be given an opportunity to fully explore out-sourcing OPA financial management operations before making a long-term commitment for proprietary software from a company whose software he said was “amenity-based.” Tredic criticized the Technoloy Working Group, which he previously has suggested may have outlived its usefullness, for failing to more fully vet the NorthStar proposal.

He suggested that the TWG had not been in touch with homeowner associations that use NorthStar software to determine how well it works for them. In her remarks at the July 27 meeting, Jacobs said the board, in a vote last summer and again earlier this year, had effectively rejected out-sourcing aa an alternative to NorthStar, but Trendic said these votes did not settle the issue in the way Jacobs contended. A vote earlier this year on a motion by Tom Herrick rejected his call for a request for proposals (RFI)

from companies that could assume control over OPA financial operations, with directors saying at the time that they could support the issuance of a request for informtion (RFI) for essentially the same purpose. Herrick balked at that, arguing that the RFP was the more appropriate alternative. OPA President Doug Parks, during the July 27 meeting, said he believes the new board could approve the NorthStar software proposal and then consider out-sourcing after that, the reverse of the approach advocated by Trendic.

Management software

A board majority did not emerge that could have amended the July 27 meeting agenda to force a vote on the NorthStar proposal, which is for a six-year lease of software that would cost roughly $1 million over those years. According to an Aug. 1 summary of capital projects by Bailey, the cost to the OPA of the NorthStar software in 2018-19 would be $496,138.

From Page 29

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Board votes to approve ethics/conduct policy Trendic says he will check with new directors to see if there’s interest in rolling back the new rules, are receptive, he said he would offer a motion to rescind the new policy and offer an alternative. Trendic has been steadfast in his opposition to the resolution, saying it is unnecessary and duplicative because the issue of director conduct and removal from office is addressed in the OPA’s governing documents, particularly the by-laws. “The content of that resolution is already probably 80, if not 90 percent, addressed by what’s already in bylaws and the board resolution itself. So we are creating another of layer by this resolution that really does not do a great deal of introducing anything different from what’s already in place,” he said. Horn offered the motion to adopt the resolution, saying two prima-

ry changes were made to it since the first reading in May. The original draft document called for the creation of an ethics committee to screen and make recommendations regarding the resolution of complaints and any resulting action to be taken against directors or officers of the association. The second reading removes that language and places that responsibility with the Board of Directors. The other change was to include officers of the association as being subject to the resolution, which was originally drafted to apply only to members of the board. With the OPA election under way, Trendic argued that a decision on the resolution should at least be pushed off to the new board that will take office in August. “I believe this


should be deferred until the next board convenes next month. We possibly will have three if not four new members.” He said that new board should have an opportunity to look at the long term impact of the resolution and what, if any, benefit that it will have. Trendic said he is in favor of holding the board and the officers to the highest standard possible and is in favor of a code of ethics and code of conduct, but in a much more streamlined way. He had developed a onepage document for consideration but it never gained traction with the board. “I will vote against it not because I’m not in favor of holding directors accountable ethically but because I believe it’s something that should be delayed until next month with the new board and we really need to do a better job enforcing the rules that already are in place instead of creating new,” he said. Horn disagreed with Trendic that the resolution ads nothing new to the resolution of conduct and ethq

By ROTA L.KNOTT Contributing Writer embers of the Board of Directors and officers of the Ocean Pines Association will have to comply with a new code of conduct and ethics standards or face being removed from office. Despite continuing objections from one member, the board adopted resolution B-08, director and officer ethics and conduct, during a July 27 meeting. Slobodan Trendic was the lone dissenter in the 5-1 vote on the resolution championed by Director Coleltte Horn. Trendic, who prefers a simpler approach to the issue that focuses on ethics rather than conduct, told the Progress recently that he plans to confer with new directors elected this month to get a read on whether they would be willing to revist the issue early in the new board term. “It’s possible they will prefer to decide for themselves this issue rather than be bound by a board vote taken right at the end of the previous term,” Trendic said. If new directors

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Ethics policy From Page 31

ics violations by directors. She said it goes a step beyond the bylaws in articulating specific behavioral and ethical considerations with respect to potential removal of a director or lesser remedies for violations. She also said it adds a level of transparency in the process. “Historically when these discussions have been held, they’ve been in closed session and the results of any decisions made in closed session have been kept private. This offers the option of making public what remedies were considered and what the votes were by individual directors, which I think is an important element that is added….” Director Cheryl Jacobs, whose term expires in August, took issue with waiting until after the election to vote on the resolution. “…I’m a little disturbed that everything has to be put off for the next board. I’m still here. I’m still willing to conduct business and vote and would like to,” she said. Jacobs voted in favor of the motion despite removal of the provision to create an ethics committee. “Unfortunately the guts of what was the appropriate part of this resolution was removed. I’m not happy at all about that because I think it was an important element. However, I will be voting in favor of it because apparently we can only take baby steps.” She said she hopes another board will amend the document to

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insert that language in the future. She argued in favor of the resolution, saying a group of very responsible people, including Horn, worked diligently to draft the document for the board. “But even in its current state as a first step I think it’s something that we should do and I do support it for that reason.” Director Ted Moroney offered his support for the motion largely because it allows for remedies to conduct and ethics violations other than removal of a director from office. He said under the bylaws it is all or nothing, but the resolution gives the board the opportunity to sanction directors for violations but not necessarily remove them from the board. “Right now we have the final bullet or not. And this allows if there are actions taken by board members, by officers to be able to incrementally step and correct issues before they become too big rather than hey we’re going to dump this person off the board or not,” Moroney said. He called the resolution a first step, and added that a future board can make changes to the resolution if necessary. “I think if the new board has major problems with it they can go in and revise it as we go.” Director Tom Herrick had little to add to the debate of the resolution, but gave his vote in favor. “I’m in full support of something being in place,” he said. Only OPA President Doug Parks seemed to change sides on the issue since first reading of the resolution two months ago. At that time, he argued with Trendic that the governing documents already in place addressed the issue of removing a director for ethics and conduct violations. But, at the July meeting, he said he would support the resolution because it includes the language for incremental actions against those found to have violated the ethics or code of conduct. “I’m not a big fan of adding another layer of bureaucracy unless there’s some benefit there and it doesn’t cause some administrative overhead that makes it an obstruction rather than a benefit,” Parks said. He said he would support the resolution because of the changes made to allow various remedies instead of “all or nothing” removal of a director and to allows public sharing of information related to those remedies. He added that if it were not for that expanded remedy process he “probably wouldn’t be as interested in supporting it.”


August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

Herrick slams Parks, Jacobs, Moroney for Mediacom OPPD fiber contract High speed interconnectivity with emergency services in Snow Hill said to be imminent


it had been executed, Herrick said. The one-page contract specifies that Mediacom is to provide transparent local area network service to the OPA, more specifically a pointto-point interconnection between the OPPD and Worcester County Emergency Services in Snow Hill, at a cost of $200 per month for a 36-month term. There was no installation charge for needed equipment. The contract misspelled Worcester, adding an an “h” after the c. The inter-connection is made possible by fiber optic cable that Mediacom has laid from the Administration/police department building in White Horse Park to Ocean Parkway and then on out to a fiber optic cable line on Route 589. In his email, Herrick said that in September of last year “it was brought to the attention to the Board of Directors that a contract was being drawn up with Mediacom to supply E911 fiber optic services to our Police Department.” He objected at the time to what he described as “a sole source option as opposed to the issuance of an RFP to the competing companies that had responded to our RFI (request for information) for this type of service.” He asked Parks who had nego-

tiated the contract on behalf of the OPA and “under what authority did they have to do so and from whom?” Herricl said he never received an answer from Parks to those questions. Herrick said that by awarding Mediacom a sole source contract for E911 fiber optic service, the OPA “is giving Mediacom the key to the front door. What effect would this have on the the future costs connecting all of our other departments going forward? Why wasn’t the RFP ever issued to ascertain these costs?” He said that another company, Think Big Networks and its partner at the time, FTS Fiber, had offered the interconnectivity with county emergency services for free, in exchange for the opportunity to lay fiber optic cable throughout Ocean Pines, more specifically OPA departments located throughout Ocean Pines, in competition with Mediacom. “At least one other company publicly stated this service would be provided to our association at NO cost if we contracted our other departments with them,” Herrick said. FTS Fiber is partially owned by former OPA director and acting general manager Brett Hill. The Think BigFTS Fiber partnership is no longer

active, and the FTS partnership is roiled by disputes over loans. Hill’s home in Ocean Pines is up for a sheriff’s sale later this month, with proceeds to be disbursed to his partners to satisfy outstanding loans. When the OPPD connectivity with Snow Hill topic was brought up for discussion at the September, 2017, board meeting, Herrick said that “Doug Parks stated that this issue would be discussed by the Board at our next Board meeting in October. This issue was never on a Board meeting agenda for discussion, although this topic had been widely reported in the local newspapers.” Herrick said that the sole source contract signed by Bailey in December “reeks of suspicion. No board discussion. No board notification from the GM, president or vice-president of the Association to the membership or to other directors.” Jacobs, like Herrick retiring from the board this month, has been serving at the OPA’s vice-president this past year. In a recent email to the Progress, Jacobs said that the installation of the dedicated line was Prince Georges Cnty “95 percent complete,” just Md awaiting

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By TOM STAUSS Publisher irector Tom Herrick, in the waning days as a member of the Board of Directors, issued biting criticism of three of his colleagues for a contract signed in December of last year with Mediacom, Ocean Pines’ primary Internet and cable television provider, for a dedicated, fiber optic connection between the Ocean Pines Police Department and Worcester County Emergency Services in Snow Hill. Herrick, who received a copy of the previously undisclosed contract between the OPA and Mediacom in early August from OPA executive secretary Michelle Bennett, in an e-mail to the Progress objected to the way the issue was handled by OPA President Doug Parks. Herrick said the contract was issued sole source without benefit of a request for proposals (RFP) contrary to OPA bylaws. According to Herrick, Parks broke his word to bring the contract to the board for discussion in October of last year. The contract was signed by General Manager John Bailey and Daniel P. Templin, senior vice-president of Mediacom Business, on Dec. 6, with no notice to the directors that


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34 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Board votes to host three town meetings during 2018-19 By TOM STAUSS Publisher ith Director Slobodan Trendic abstaining but five other directors in favor, the Board of Directors at its July 27 monthly meeting committed the new board that will organize this month to host three town hall meetings on subjects to be determined. The proposal for three town meetings was offered by Director Colette Horn on behalf of the Communications Advisory Committee. Horn is the board’s liaison to the committee. After OPA President Doug Parks opened discussion on the proposal by saying he was a “big fan” of town meetings, Trendic offered a cautionary note. Tellin his colleagues he, too, was a fan of town hall meetings, Trendic said he was not sure the current board should be dictating to the next one how many town meetings it should host. He said town meetings generally are held when needed/ “What if we need only one, or need five?” he asked his colleagues, suggesting that if three town meetings are “spelled out, you have to have three” even if more or fewer are actually needed. Director Tom Herrick said he understood Trendic’s point and said he wouldn’t be opposed to simply allowing the next board to set the number of town meetings.



Director Ted Moroney said setting the number of town meetings would make the next board more accountable, and that, if necessary, the number could always be increased. But he said if a minimum number of town hall meetings was not established, “you’re not held accountable” and it would be possible that none would occur. Horn said she thought that if three town hall meetings without a specific purpose were scheduled, it would allow the membership to express opinions in a manner not allowed in regular board meetings. Members are restricted to five-minute comments in the Public Comments segment of regular board meetings and generally don’t receive

Hill critiques local weekly for misrepresenting his response to comments on sheriff’s sale


ormer Ocean Pines Director and Acting General Manager Brett Hill is none too pleased with a particular local weekly “obsessing” over his personal business, difficulties within the partnership that more than two years ago had expressed an interest in bringing competitive high speed Internet services to Ocean Pines. In a loan repayment dispute, Hill’s business partners sued him and obtained a judgment against him in Worcester County Circuit Court. A sheriff’s sale is scheduled for later this month of Hill’s Ocean Pines home, proceeds of which Hill told the Progress he hopes will be sufficient to pay off his partners. Hill said he will retain ownership in an Ocean Pines property owned by a limited liability corporation in which he is a principle. Meanwhile, somewhat facetiously, he said he wanted to keep critics guessing as to where he will live once his house sells at auction. He said he remains active with his local church and its school, and that he intends to stay engaged in the affairs of the OPA as a property owner, even while he doesn’t expect to be living in Ocean Pines

Fiber contract From Page 33

the return of a county employee to switch on the service. She made no mention of the December contract. It specified a 100-day window for completing the installation. The monthly fee is payable when the service becomes active, called the “turn-up” date in the contract. Herrick slammed Jacobs for her involvement in what he called an “appalling” lack of transparency. He criticized her for comments made in an exit interview with a local weekly newspaper in which she said that Hill, the former acting general manager, had made decisions “without board approval,” causing “turmoil and stress” on the board. Herrick said Jacobs’ comments were a “perfect example of the pot calling the kettle black. There is clearly a double standard prevalent within the governance of our association, particularly when it suits a certain agenda.” In this case the agenda appears to be to promote and favor the interests of Mediacom over those of potential competitors, which Herrick explicitly does harm to the interest of OPA members who would benefit from competition. Herrick said he might have let the issue go but he said he was incensed by Jacob’s quoted remarks. “This is example of a director do-

for the foreseeable future. Hill said he wishes the local media would lay off his personal business affairs since he hasn’t been an OPA director and acting general manager for almost a year. “There’s a local weekly in particular that obsesses over anything Brett Hill,” he said. “Their reporter doesn’t like me, and their assistant publisher doesn’t either because she blames me that the Yacht Club pool isn’t adults only any more and that I proposed moving a family fun night from Wednesday to Sunday. It’s all so petty and ridiculous. They’re aligned with the ‘blame it all on Brett faction’ in Ocean Pines.” He said he called out the local weekly when it sent him an email asking for a response to a story it was preparing on the pending sheriff’s sale. “I basically told them, within the time frame they gave me for a response, to butt out of my personal business,” Hill said. “Their article said I hadn’t responded in time for my comment to be included, but that was totally untrue. I just chewed them out for obsessing over my personal business, and they didn’t want anyone to know that I think they practice shoddy journalism, designed to discredit me at every opportunity.”

ing exactly what she accuses Brett of doing, facilitating a contract without board notice or approval,” Herrick said, adding that Parks also is guilty of that. An email request from Herrick to Bailey asking or a copy of the December contract, which Director Slobodan Trendic also had requested, produced a disinterested response from Director Ted Moroney, Herrick said. “He said he didn’t want or need a copy because he wasn’t on the board at the time,” Herrick said, describing himself as amazed and appalled that Moroney, who Herrick said has his hands “in almost everything going on in the OPA at the moment,” wasn’t interested in reading the contract or considering its implications. “He was appointed to the board in September, so to use that as an excuse for not looking at the contract isn’t credible,” Herrick said. Herrick said it won’t be a huge leap to expect Mediacom to move to high-speed, fiber optic connectivity between all of the OPA’s far-flung departments, once the OPPD project is complete. “This could deter a company like Think Big from coming in to Ocean Pines to offer competing services to the OPA and residents,” Herrick said. “This is why you don’t do a sole source contract. Everyone in Ocean Pines who might want an alternative to Mediacom is hurt by this.”

In an email response, Moroney said the Mediacom contract is three years at $200 per month “to hook us into the 911 fiber system. Given in December 2016 that FTS Fiber [Brett Hill’s company] stated it would cost $200,000 to install and $30,000 a year to maintain, this is a great deal. It doesn’t prevent the board from entering into any contract to add fiber only to the community at anytime,” he said. According to Moroney, “one firm stated it would be $10 to $15 million to install fiber in OP, and OPA could still RFP for dark fiber at anytime. Given the speed of OPA, it will be 2019 before an RFP could be issued, responded to, debated and perhaps an agreement to proceed. Then contract, perhaps a franchise type fee negotiation, and at least a year or more to install. “From a practical standpoint the three year contract will be up by the time OPA could or would act. In the meantime we will have fiber 911 for $200 a month,” he said. Hill in a reply rebutted Moroney’s assertion about the FTS’ 2016 offer. “The only request was a public utility easement, which the association is legally obliged to provide anyway. As a for profit entity, there were charges that would be assessed to FTS for use of the state fiber from Snow Hill, but FTS was bearing those costs and NOT passing any charges back to OPA,” Hill said.


August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


Employee handbook removed from agenda


Herrick concerned about expansion of benefits

iscussion and approval of a proposed new Ocean Pines Association employee handbook was removed from the Board of Directors’ July 27 agenda. Director Slobodan Trendic asked at the start of the meeting for a modification to the agenda to remove the item. With no directors objecting, the board agreed to take the employee handbook off the agenda, but didn’t offer any reason for doing so at that time. While she was originally scheduled to offer a motion for approval of the document on July 27, Director Collette Horn supported delaying the item until a future meeting. In response to Trendic’s request to remove the topic from the agenda, Horn said she was going to ask for the item to be struck from the agenda anyway. There was no explanation given. Horn’s proposed motion, which was included in the board’s meeting packet, called for approval of the employee handbook effective September 2018. In her background for the motion, Horn said the employee handbook has been revised to be consistent with current laws and regulations. The work was completed under the direction of the OPA’s new human resources representative, Nate Doughty, and was reviewed by an employment law firm. The revised employee handbook is just one element of an overall review of employment and compensation practices and policies that was requested by the board. The revised document articulates policies, practices, and standards that protect

the association and its employees regarding employment issues. Retiring director Tom Herrick offered some insight into why the handbook motion was deleted from the meeting agenda. He said he has concluded upon reading it that it seems to offer more employee benefits to more employees than ever before, including free use of Ocean Pines amenities. He said he wasn’t sure that new directors coming on board this month, in addition to some carry-over members, will be comfortable with that. He said the handbook in his view needs to be looked at in the context of recent attempts to roll back some health and retirement benefits to make them more consistent with those in private industry.

Kiwanis house signs

The Kiwanis Club of Greater Ocean Pines- Ocean City has been providing a house sign service for 25+ years. The Ocean Pines Association made the brown and orange house number sign the official one for Ocean Pines. Pictured (L-R) are Kiwanis Treasurer Tom Southwell accepting a $400 check from President Ralph Chinn realized from the club’s community service house sign project. Applications for signs and re-painting are available in the front hall of the Ocean Pines Association Building. Signs cost $15 and re-painting is $10.

Town meetings From Page 34

answers to questions posed. There are exceptions to that rule, but the town hall format tends to be more free-wheeling and interactive. “Let’s make transparency a habit,” Horn said of the proposal for three town hall meetings. Director Cheryl Jacobs, perhaps relishing one last opportunity to vote against a viewpoint expressed by Trendic, said she couldn’t “agree more with” Horn and Moroney. The proposal for three town meetings passed 5-1, with Trendic abstaining. Though a definitive vote by the old board, it’s a generally understood that actions by a prior board are not binding on a new board.

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36 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Trendic critical of Parks, Horn, Bailey for for release of Country Club bid specs

put of the community will give the board more choices, not less. The board will make the ultimate decision,” Moroney said. Director Colette Horn, in a response to a Progress email, said “there was a quorum of the board present at the on-site working meeting (Parks, Moroney, Trendic and Horn), and the four of us agreed Says old directors should have given new directors the courtesy of a review before RFP was release July 2016Ocean Pines PROGRESS 53 OPINION and instructed Mr. Bailey that the reportedly a range to 70 percent as Clarke points to three years of cumulative Yacht By TOM STAUSS in of a 30 telephone interview Aug. 10 by the vote offession the full board.” sets While RFP would not have to go back to Election Commentary within acceptable limits for ACC funding. The OPA Club deficits. Clarke and Gomsak, elsewhere in this Publisher Parks authorized RFPofre-the the he said he could understand desire that boardspar for over approval, the From Page 52 currently funds itsa replacement reserve at the low end the edition Progress, whichprovided three years by thehe multitude of candidates. the “acceptable” range. lease. It was posted on the should used architectural for analytic purposes. latest version of architec- to move the of OPA be Web process along, Trendic drawings and descripSupik seenengineering as a Thompson cheerleader, what it’s worth, Thompson has Let’s look the two years the new facility has been turalis and drawlate Aug.reportedly 10. Two directors came to at tion said it and was onlyFor “common courtesy” of requirements and options someone in the mold of Pete Gomsak, a former board recommended 50 percent funding of the ACC, to be open. An OPA member could take a look at the April ingsand for current the Country defense of Parks Bailey to givevery threeachieved new directors weekthethe conformed to what 2016,on (end-of-fi scal-year) Yacht was Clubunanimousprofit-loss member assistantClub’s OPA treasurer over tenayears; recommendation is con-and30, that the in new Yacht Clubmeethas much aligned Terry-Jacobs faction. tained in documents. a document that the majority second floor with seemthewell prepared, theboard release of the won’t RFP. statement to conclude or so to look over the ly agreed upon the on-site not performed well financially. Both Gomsak and Supik are retired accountants, let him release to the OPA membership. and in his view could accompany the Ted Moroney, in an email re“We could vote on them at the oring.” The statement is posted on-line on the OPA Web both are identified with the notion that OPA reserves A 50 percent funding level still would require a sigrelease of a request forboth proposals for ganizational sponse toover the aProgress, that informs and of cant the increase board,” in Trendic site (under documents, monthly financials). are underfunded, and are wedded to the idea nifi the lot assessment, number said According to Horn, “the drawings Operational exclude depreciation, which that the OPA’s reserve levels shouldacbe tied to someof years, talking abouta assessment increases“when is the project in the coming weeks, June 14 meeting the issue statements said. “There would be and no significant and RFP indicate that the requireappear in departmental summaries contained in the thing called the annual component cost (ACC), a comnever popular, especially during election season. cording to Director Slobodan Trenof adding the input of the golf comeffect on the time-table to begin and wasstatement met.” annual auditedment financial released in early putational confection conceived and embraced by the The rationale for keeping the document secret, acdic. to thedocument plans came up, I The be- unaudited complete the cording project.” August. numbers come close to accounting profession. to Thompson, is thatmunity it is a working She said “thisusually decision was made the “official” ones available in August. Gomsak and Terry tried to persuade to run said involved the updating completion of the OPA’s He said he still prefers that a de- Supik we had consensus agreement Trendic that ainboard motionandlieve based on detailed discussion and The Yacht Club’s operational loss in 2015-16 was for the board last year, failing to do so, but they sucongoing reserve study. tailed business meet with them, get their input in April of this That’s year absurd, offered because by Co- thetodocument $76,219; a year unanimous earlier it wasagreement $181,875. on the design ceeded this year.plan for the facility itself is comGranted, year-over-year was sigIf anyone isathe anointedin candidate particupleteaand has been referenced one the or two board be developed, deficiency the pro-of this andinissue RFP. The major chang- theand lette Horn, with friendly amendmaterialsimprovement modifications and nificant, but a loss is a loss and a $76,000 loss (plus lar faction, meetings. Property owners paid for the thatprevious document, cess to date,it’s heSupik spades. es from drawings were ment by Trendic, specified that the that on would gomillion into the RFP. hefty funded options depreciation a $5 buildSupik has said that, as chairman of the Budget and and it ought to be released immediately. But OPA President Doug to release includeit,the needed toThompson review and approve Also,stillitrequires was unanimously agreed ing)changes this past year a substantial subsidy Finance Advisory Committee, sheParks is used toboard navigating seems willing to butelevator he’s be- and the annual in very roiled waters, forging a consensus in a drawings group ing stymied some was of his to board who in and General Manager John Bai- the the overseers, roof framing, boththrough discussed before thebyRFP that lot in assessment. the interests of time needSupik could have shed more light on the subject with, at times, sharply conflicting views. this instance prefer secrecy over disclosure and transley violated a previous board mo- issued. at the 6/14 meeting. ed to work with the least had she indulged in complete less cheerleading on what the Other candidates over the years have said that parency. Perhaps they fear that the Thompson recomtion, courtesy in end going “The other changes were to in- numbers Trendic said the old board was in an election most recentl actually they,and like common Supik claims now, can board factionalmendation could become issue, adversely disruption to say. golf operations next Supik also seems firmly in the camp of replacing ism and infia ghting. It continues, despite the ef- of affecting certain particularly Supik, who ahead with release of the Country add alternates, in other words the best process reviewing thecandidates, latest clude season, the RFP needed to get out (rather than repairing and renovating) existing ameforts of those who say they can end it. has been open in her viewpoint that OPA reserves are ClubFactional RFP oninfi Aug. 10, Trendic said, selections, that would be included astheas drawings, but had not yet approved soon as practicable without nities, with Country Club an example of that. slowThe ghting will probably continue regardunderfunded. calling it “the latest this example a with inthat the by bidkeepgivingcurrent the board them which they’re minority faction favors substantial renovation; less of who is elected year. Itof goes theand ter- the RFP Whatofthey don’t seem tooptions realize is ing things down by having another it’sto notchose certain where the majority stands. With Supik ritory.president It becomeswho uglydoesn’t when the infighting becomes ing said it secret, could also effect of possibilities adversely board always thethegreatest a part. Trendic thatit Bailey on have board review.” part of the majority, the board would gain a voice personal, such as when one director says he’s going to affecting certain candidates, particularly Supik, even act witha full transparency butwall more from. In fact there were strongly no materiParks’s authority released the had RFPallowed “it was felt biased in According the directionto of Horn, replacement. throw colleague through the for the temerity more so than if they Thompson to release candidates most to embrace Thompson’s of seeing issues differently. his recommendations, and their rationales, to the OPAto theThe like a dictator. al changes suggested interior anyway. that thelikely working meeting itself concontinued tenure as general manager are Supik, SiOcean Pines’ ACC has been estimated at roughly membership. “Doug doesn’t have the authority room layout and everything else was Parks did not respond to an inquisufficient of the conmon, Daly, Ray stituted Unger, and probablyreview Larry Perrone. $14 million, which could mean that OPA reserves are Supik also has come under fire from former board tounderfunded instruct thebyGM issueifan RFP,” option for board decision (deck from of the member ProgressClarke about cerns in April by the Golfopand Those who like theraised status quo are not without $10to million 100 percentry funding forhis herinpublican statements to the effect tions. Perhaps many, but that’s how it is this electhe ACCsaid. is the“That goal. has to come only the OPA the Ocean rail Pinesmaterial, Yacht Club is doing etc.). Trendic windows, The in- too structions to that Bailey, whoand confirmed General Membership communities tion season. – Tom Stauss Actually, it doesn’t have to be; the accounting prowell financially. about the design elements, materials, etc. and sufficient review of the changes and options that would be included in the drawings and RFP.” She said Pines “the bids themselves The Ocean Progress, a journalwill address elements and of news these and commentary, is give pub- the lished the monthly throughout year. board opportunity to the determine It is circulated in Ocean Pines, Berlin, costs associated with the various opOcean City, and Captain’s Cove, Va. tions under consideration and make Letters and other editorial submisasions: determination as to bid elePlease submit viawhich email only. Lettersand should be original andbeexcluments contractor will best for siveAssociation.” to the Progress. Include phone the number for verification. Trendic said Horn misrepresented the on-site work session attend127 Nottingham Lane Ocean Pines, MDHe 21811 ed by four directors. said it was not an official meeting of the board PUBLISHER/EDITOR in which action or decisions could be Tom Stauss made. He said there was no vote or con443-359-7527 sensus on whether Bailey could isAdvertising Sales sue the RFP without board approvFrank Bottone al. 410-430-3660 “Her statement contradicted ART DIRECTOR what actually took place the past Rota Knott few days,” Trendic said in his email. “TheCONTRIBUTING general manager emailed the WRITER RFP documents to the Board last Rota Knott Friday (Aug. 3) and asked us to 443-880-1348 review (them). That is what the board-approved motion from April




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BOARD OF DIRECTORS called for, in addition to the board needing to approve the new RFP. Director Horn as well as myself began the review and offered comments.” Trendic said OPA by-laws allow a vote via email, but only if all directors vote to approve that method. Trendic said he informed Parks that he would not consent to an email vote, which he said should have pushed the issue off to the week of Aug. 13, when three new directors would be on board. He added that Horn, “as the [board] parliamentarian should have known better how to properly handle a situation when four directors are present [in a work session]. She did not declare that a board quorum was present and that we were conducting board business. “Had she declared that I would have immediately left the GM’s working session,” Trendic said. He went on to say that he “would never agree to rescind the April motion as amended by me. That simply would make no sense.” In addition, Trendic said he did not agree that “Horn’s stated conditions for not going back to the board for approval were met,” adding that “I believe the decision to release the RFP ... is in direct violation of the board-approved motion that required the general manager to get a board approval before its release.”

Bailey announces release of community survey

By TOM STAUSS Publisher eneral Manager John Bailey has announced the release of the long-awaited community survey. He made the announcement at the annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association Aug. 11. He asked property owners to participate in the survey on-line. A press release posted on the OPA Web site links to the survey. Deadline for completing the survey is Friday, Sept. 7. Neither the press release nor Bailey in his comments during the annual meeting made any mention of mailing the survey to residents. He said hard copies would be available at select locations in Ocean Pines. Last month, Bailey said the intent was to send the survey out by mail and to post it on the OPA Web site on Monday, Aug. 13, with a return date of Friday, Aug. 31. Bailey did not give a reason for the later return deadline, but it’s probably intended to ensure maximum participation by property owners in the survey. “With regard to providing the survey on-line, we will be utilizing the services of Snap Survey,” software that Bailey said will allow the OPA “to combine the on-line responses and the hard-copy, returned surveys into one data stream. Snap Survey will collate everything and provide us with a summary report and the data.” Bailey said the results will help the OPA complete a new strategic plan for the community. The survey includes questions about what amenities OPA members use and their support for them. There’s also a question about how members receive information about Ocean Pines. Newspapers and various OPA sources are listed. A notable exception is, delisted at the request of Director Colette Horn, who says the site offers opinion not information. Site owner Joe Reynolds says it offers both, but the forum was delisted anyway..


Directors finds property owners in violation for unpermitted fence


ased on the recommendation of the Architectural Review Committee, the Board of Directors on July 27 voted unanimously to take action against the owners

of 279 Ocean Parkway for violating the Ocean Pines Association’s restrictive covenants. The board found the property is in continuing violation of the governing documents and voted to set it to OPA legal counsel for resolution. OPA General Manager John Bailey said the property owners have

installed a fence that is not permitted under the declaration of restrictions. Director Ted Moroney made the motion, which was approved unanimously by the board, to find the property in continuing violation of the declaration of restrictions and to pursue legal action against the owners.

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August 2018

Members reject one motion, but pass two at OPA annual meeting Thumbs down on barking dogs, bulkhead staging area at Swim and Racquet Club By TOM STAUSS Publisher n the annual meeting of the Ocean Pines Association Aug. 11 dominated by professionally delivered reports on the state of the OPA, members took to the microphone, proposed and then voted on several non-binding motions, rejecting one and passing two others. OPA President Doug Parks allowed for the original agenda to be amended by voice vote early in the meeting, which made it possible for motions to be offered from the floor by members under new business. Parks and OPA attorney Jeremy Tucker both said the motions would be non-binding on the board of directors, consistent with a provision in the OPA bylaws. But Parks said the successful passage of two motions would result in those topics being discussed at the board level, with possible action to follow. The rejected motion offered by Alan Brodsky called for the assessments to be raised by $1200 per year, or $100 a month in an automatic monthly debit from member bank accounts, to make all of Ocean


Pines’ amenities accessible without charge to children of families of limited means. A majority of property owners were in no mood to have their assessments raised for the purpose specified. The first motion to pass was offered by a property owner incensed about barking dogs. The sucessful motion called for the board to enact a noise ordinance banning barking dogs from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily. The OPA has no authority to adopt ordinances or laws, but can adopt resolutions, guidelines and rules. Organizational documents do not allow the OPA to levy fines. The second motion to pass called for the board to shut down the bulkhead staging area at the Swim and Racquet Club. It passed unanimously, after some property owners criticized OPA management for allegedly allowing companies other than authorized contractor Hi-Tide Marine to use the Swim and Racquet Club location for private repair and installation work. Property owners verbally beat up

General Manager John Bailey and the board for the staging area, on safety, aesthetic, and environmental grounds. The annual meeting was a relative sedate affair, with one notable exception. Chief of Police Dave Massey was accused by one property owner of lying; Parks asked the property owner to avoid making personal attacks, and he complied. As the meeting began, Elections Committee chair Steve Habeger reported that the meeting was 17 members short of a quorum needed to certify election results. Members rounded up property owners at the farmer’s market in White Horse Park, and Habeger reported that a quorum was established. He later certified election results, with Steve Tuttle and Frank Daly winning three-years terms, and Ted Moroney and Esther Diller winning one-year terms to fill vacancies caused by board resignations. In other developments at the annual meeting o 50th Anniversary chairwoman Jenny Cropper-Rines, to the amusement of some in the meeting, an-

nounced that her committee, with the assistance of the Public Works Department and metal detectors, had been unable to locate a time capsule buried 40 years ago during the tenth anniversary. o Treasurer John Viola presented detailed documentation outlining the OPA’s $1.2 million operating loss last year. o Tucker reported on the status of the Brett Hill ballot access lawsuit, which is being handled by the OPA’s insurance company. He said the company’s lawyers had responded to the suit and was asking for it to be dismissed. o Bailey told property owners that because new capital projects are funded out of the operating fund and financed by current year property assessments, it’s very difficult to find the money to pay for them. Previously he has supported the creation of a new capital reserve, funded in part by the sale of OPA surplus lots or other property. o Bailey reported “hiccups” at the Yacht Club Oasis pool with respects to guidelines, which he inaccuraely described as rules, regulating noise and certain kinds of activities at the former adults-only amenities. He cited one example of a 40-yearold doing a cannonball, which drew laughter from the crowd. The posted guidelines at the pool were never voted on by the board in accord with OPA bylaws that require board approval.

Audit confirms’ $1.2 million loss for 2017-18 By TOM STAUSS Publisher he official Ocean Pines Association report for 2017-18 confirms that the OPA lost $1.2 million in the year that ended this past April 30. But anyone who thinks that the OPA is in poor financial condition because of the erosion in the OPA’s operating fund probably can rest easy. The OPA has no debt to speak of, has a more or less guaranteed revenue stream in the form of assessments, amenity memberships, interest, and other sources. It also has a reserve fund balance and fixed assets that, despite a negative operating fund balance last year, produced a total “fund balance” that actually grew by roughly $400,000 year over year. The audit report, completed for


the second consecutive year by SH&C auditing firm of Sparks, Md., was posted on the OPA Web site in late July, with a summary of key points contained in a summary of results by OPA John Viola at the annual meeting of Ocean Pines property owners Aug. 11. Viola’s commentscan be seen on the video of the annual meeting available on the OPA Web site. The statement of revenues and expenses and changes in the fund balances contained within the audit report is where the $1.2 million loss appears. It’s actually described as net revenue under expenses after operating transfers and other changes in fund balances. The OPA finances are fund-based, comprised of an operating fund, various reserve funds (replacement, roads, and bulkheads, currently), and fixed

assets, the latter of which probably wouldn’t strike the average person as a fund. In the accounting world, at least as it is shown in the fund balance schedule, it seems to be. The audit report shows that the OPA generated $12.39 million in revenue last year, with cost of sales in food and beverage operations of $1,255,218, resulting in net revenues of $11,134,904. The OPA incurred $13.66 million in operating expenses last year, according to the report, resulting in a net loss of $2.53 million before operating transfers and other changes in fund balances. According to the schedule, these transfers and other changes include $225,883 in fixed asset additions, depreciation expense of $1,806,780, and a $300,000 transfer of casino

funds from the operating fund to the roads reserve. Those activities net out at a positive $1,280,897. When this number is combined with the $2.53 million, the result is a $1,247,691, or $1.2 million, decline in the operating fund balance from the beginning of the fiscal year to April 30 of this year, when the 201718 fiscal year ended. According to the schedule, the OPA’s operating fund balance had a deficit of $363,640 at the beginning of the fiscal year. It had ballooned to $1,611,331 as of April 30. This somewhat bleak result is offset substantially by the OPA’s $7,890,119 in reserve funds as of April 30, and increase of $2,433,756 from the beginning of the fiscal year. The OPA’s investment in fixed assets decreased from $23,908,811 at To Page 40

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS 39

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August 2018

Audit report From Page 34

the beginning of the fiscal year to $23,908,811 as of April 30. This resulted from capital fixed asset additions of $1,115,216, depreciation expense of $1,806,780, and sale of fixed assets of $94,900. In the world of accountants, depreciation expense sometimes shows up in schedules as a positive number and elsewhere as a negative. In any event, according to SH&C, the OPA’s total fund balance of operating funds, reserve funds and fixed assets on April 30 totaled $29,401,135. That compares to $28,981,534 on April 30 of last year. That’s an improvement of roughly $420,000. The audit report’s schedule of departmental results deviates in several areas from the unaudited financial results for the year contained in the OPA’s financial report for April, which showed a $1,040,322 operating loss for the year not including new capital expenditures, which are funded out of the operating fund and therefore add to the operating fund deficit in any given fiscal year if there is one. The monthly financials don’t treat new capital expenditures as operating expenses, which they’re not, though they are paid for out of the operating fund, a distinction that is important to make when trying to comprehend the audit report’s complex methods used in reporting financial results. The main difference between the April 30, unaudited, departmental summary and the audit report is under General Administration. In the April financials, General Administration is shown with a net positive of $4,956,629. In the audit report, the net positive is $5,264,463. That’s a $268,000 variance. The variance was explained in an email to the Progress by OPA Treasurer John Viola and Director of Finance Steve Phillips. “The ... variance (not miss) in General Administration can primarily be explained by the casino funds revenue of $300,000 that is recorded net of the 100 percent transfer to the reserve account within the internal financials statements produced for the period ended 4/30/18,” they said. In schedule 4 of the audited statements, “you will see only the recognized revenue for the incoming casino funds recorded within the operating fund. The ($300,000) is

then deducted “below the line” in the Statements of Revenues and Expenses and Changes in Fund Balances, as the auditors are presenting it as an operating transfer,” they said. “The bottom-line is the same. You just need to deduct the ($300,000) in casino revenues from Schedule 4 in order to do a meaningful comparison between the internal (monthly) statements and Schedule 4,” they concluded. A Progress analysis also revealed that: o The finance department cost the OPA $709,989 last year, up from the unaudited number of $690,007, a $20,000 miss. “This is a client adjustment (not audit adjustment or miss) that was made once we were made aware of outstanding invoices for IT contracted services related to work within the accounting system,” Viola and Phillips said. o The finance department cost the OPA $542,525 in 2016-17. The yearover-year increase was roughly $167,500. “The variance year over year can be explained by an unbudgeted finance accountant that was in place for the first half of the year through December 2017. This new position (that has since been eliminated) is what comprises the majority of variance in salaries and wages between the two fiscal years,” Viola and Phillips said. “The majority of the contracted services variance is primarily due to the outside services of a prior employee that served in the role of an outside contractor. In analyzing the spend of this contractor throughout fiscal year 2018, it should be noted that over 70 percent of the expense incurred during the year was incurred through December 2017. “In calendar year 2018, the contractor’s hours diminished, but hours were still required to train the new Director of Finance and also assist with the prep work associated with dual audits occurring simultaneously,” they said. o There was a huge year-overyear jump last year in general maintenance expenses over 2016-17, just under $400,000 more in spending. Public Works cost the OPA roughly $25,000 more in 2017-18 than what had been reported in the April financials. “Approximately $100K in internal salaries and wages were able to be capitalized in FY17 related to work performed at the Tern Grille,”

Viola says B&F committee is looking at ways to recoup two-month negative variance


wo months into the 2018-19 fiscal year the Ocean Pines Association has a negative variance to budget of $137,712. While it doesn’t appear as if anyone is going into panic mode because of it, it has been duly noted by OPA Treasurer John Viola, who chairs the influential Budget and Finance Advisory Committee, and committee members. In an acknowledgment during his treasurer’s report delivered by speaker phone during the July 27 Board of Directors meeting, Viola said he and his committee are discussing ways to offset the negative variance and to avoid digging the hole deeper. Viola noted that the Aquatics’ Department won’t be able to recoup membership losses that resulted from a change in the fee structure related to Beach Club parking revenues. He also said that after two months of operation, the OPA has almost used up the entire $75,000 budget for legal expenses. It’s almost a certainty that legal expenses, a line item under General Administration, will miss its budget by a substantial amount in the current fiscal year. Aquatics is roughly $75,500 under budget for the year through June, but will still most likely make money for the OPA this year, just less than budgeted. Another significant factor in the negative variance to budget after June is operations at the Beach Club, which is $46,593 under budget entering the two, historically profitable months of the year for this amenity, July and August. But the Beach Club is projected to earn a little more than $100,000 for the year, which means it’s going to have to generate $146,593 in net earnings for July and August to meet budget.

Viola and Phillips explained. “Approximately $100K in salaries and payroll costs related to positions that were previously budgeted within CPI and Public Works that were transferred and accounted for within the General Maintenance Department in FY18.” Other factors cited were about $50,000 related to mold remediation services at the Yacht Club, and about $65,000 in maintenance and renovations related to the Matt Ortt Companies taking over the operations at the Yacht Club and Beach, they said. o As predicted by Viola recently, the audit report approved the manner in which the OPA’s finance department accounted for a protracted funding dispute with the Ocean Pines Volunteer Fire Department. The OPA issued a check in May to pay for two new ambulances and budgeted 2017-18 OPVFD operating expenses but withheld in February, March and April. May is the first month of the current fiscal year. One of the ambulances was expensed in 2017-18 and the other in the current fiscal year. The April financials showed fire/ emergency medical services expenses of $284,727. Had these costs been expensed in May, when a check to the OPVFD was issued, rather than in April, the OPVFD’s cost to the

OPA in 2017-18 would have been less than $400,000 and the net departmental operating loss for the year for all departments would have been less than a million dollars. o Losses at the Yacht Club and the Beach Club were, in addition to sharply higher spending for general maintenance, the primary drivers of last year’s operating deficit. The Yacht Club’s audited loss excluding depreciation was $677,059, while the Beach Club’s loss was $107,601, both figures higher than that reported in the April financials. o The auditors confirmed the April results in the majority of departments. The audit report doesn’t make the comparison easy. There is no single schedule that compiles all the departmental results before depreciation. Instead, results before depreciation have to be extracted from individual department summaries contained in multiple schedules. o Golf operations netted $5,279, while the Tern Grille lost $36,504. Golf also costs OPA members more than $400,000 per year in depreciation expense, according to the audit report. o Aquatics produced a $147,420 surplus for the OPA last year, partly explained by revenue-sharing with Beach Club parking.

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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42 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


August 2018

Hearn acquitted of charges he violated privacy rights of former board members

By TOM STAUSS Publisher aptain’s Cove property owner association President Tim Hearn was acquitted last month of charges that he violated the privacy rights of former members of the Cove board by publishing their 1099 tax documents on the members-only section of the Cove’s Web site. Charges that he violated 58.1-3F of Virginia’s criminal code, a class one misdemeanor, were heard in Accomack County District Court in Accomac on July 16. After a trial of roughly 70 minutes, he was found not guilty of seven charges filed by seven former directors, including John Ward, and George Dattore. Hearn said the complainants failed to prove that he was personally responsible for publishing the material on the Cove Web site. Cove communications director Justin Wilder testified that he was directed to take the action to post the documents on authority of the Cove’s board of directors, not Hearn


personally, in response to an information request initiated by Ward. Ward had asked for evidence that, as alleged by Hearn previously, that members of prior boards of directors and the Environmental Control Committee had billed the Cove association over a number of years for travel expenses to attend meetings. According to Hearn, the practice of paying volunteers to attend meetings stopped when he and business allies assumed control of the Cove association in 2012 after an election in which the declarant/developer CCG Note cast ballots. Prior to that time, Hearn contended that the practice of paying volunteers for travel expenses cost the Cove association hundreds of thousands of dollars that Hearn said as completely unwarranted. Hearn said that soon after the acquittal last month, Ward filed a criminal charge against Wilder “for the same kind of violation that John Ward filed against me.” He said the Cove association will stand behind Wilder for any legal

expenses related to the most recent filing. He called on Ward to stop what Hearn called a pattern of “abusive behavior” of Cove employees. Hearn said none of the other original complainants have joined in the action against Wilder. “A couple of them have told me they regret particticipating in the action against me,” Hearn said. “They feel they were misled about the chances of my being found guilty.” He said he doubted any of Ward’s original allies will decide to take against a Cove employee who was “doing his job” and responding to a request from the board. He said that he has paid for his own legal expenses related to his defense, although the Cove’s board of directors were willing to step up. He said the Cove filed a claim with the association’s insurance carrier for the cost, but the expense was less than the deductible on the policy. He said there have been discussions with the insurance company to take action against complainants as a way of recouping any and all legal

Expires 10-21-18

expenses incurred by individual directors or employees. “These discussions are ongoing” but as yet there’s been no decision on how to proceed, Hearn said, adding that reasonable settlements with some of the complainants might be possible. In a decision unrelated to the recent legal tussle, Hearn said that he has decided to step down as Cove president in a few months with the expiration of the current board term. “I’ve been president for six years, and it’s time for someone else to take the reins,” he said, making it clear that he still intends to run for the board again this year. Also intending to run are current directors Michael Glick and Jim Silfee, principles in CCG Note, LCC, the Cove’s declarant/developer. Because the developer owns a significant number of lots in the Cove and can if it chooses cast three votes for every lot owned, CCG Note-endorsed candidates are assurred of election. General manager announcemen: Hearn announced that in recent discussions the board has decided that the Cove will be well served by hiring a general manager to head up operations in Captain’s Cove. The Cove has a facilities manager, Rob Girard, who supervises multiple departments in the Cove, including security, maintenance and certain amenities. The Cove last had a general manager more than six years ago, Lance Stitcher, who was not replaced. Food and beverage operations and the golf course are under the day-to-day operation of Billy Casper Golf. Hearn said that the board most likely will hire within the Cove association for a general manager and expects to announce a choice later this month. He said that Girard has indicated that he doesn’t want to be considered for the position. Assessment remains stable: At a meeting of the board of directors last month, the directors ratified what they had discussed earlier in the year. There will be no increase in the $1200 lot assessment, payable in twice-yearly payments of $600. The waterfront assessment for canal-front owners will be $200, as previously announced. The budget for 2018-19 will be ratified in a meeting of the board scheduled for right after the annual meeting in November, Hearn said. The Cove association through To Page 44

August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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4 BR 2.5 BA 1820 sq ft., Upgraded Kitchen, Granite Counter Tops, Pergo Floors, Privacy Fencing, Deck, Patio

3494 Blackbeard Rd. • $379,900

3330 Harpoon Ct.. • $325,000 3 BR 2.5 BA 2154 sq ft., Sold Furnished, Bonus Room, 75’ Boardwalk, Trek Decking, Canal Views

2402 Octopus Rd. • $227,500

$1. 3/1727 Wooded $1. 7/167 Wooded $1. 4/2268 Wooded, Cert Letter $250 10/140 Wooded $750 11/17 Wooded, Cert Letter $1250 3/1810 Wooded, Cert Letter $1500 6/40 Wooded, Cert Letter $1,500 11/58 Wooded, Cert Letter $1,500 11/87 Cleared, Cert Letter $1,500 4/ 2284 Wooded $1500 3/1800 Wooded, Cert Letter $1850 4/2313 Wooded, Cert Letter

$1850 6/15 Wooded, Cert Letter $2,000 11/77 Wooded $2,000 2/90 Wooded $2,000 7/181 Cleared $2,000 7/268 Mostly Cleared $2,000 10/119 Mostly Cleared $2,000 2/377 Cleared, Secondary System $2,500 4/2271 Wooded $4,000 2/350 Cleared,Water/Sewer Septic Approved $2,500 1/1159 Wooded, $5,000 2/134 Wooded, Septic Approved $2,500 5/20 Wooded $6,000 2/206 Cleared, Septic Approved $2,500 4/2200 Wooded, Cert Letter $3,000 4/2104 Wooded, Cert Letter $3,000 5/82 Wooded $3,000 1/868 Wooded, Water/Sewer $3,000 6/22 Wooded, Cert Letter $4,000 6/24 Wooded, Cert Letter $4,000 3/1627 Cleared, W/S, Water View $4,900 1/1055 Wooded, W/S Bay View $5,000 3/1623 Cleared, W/S Water View $5,500 3/ 1622 Cleared, W/S, Water View $11,000 1/1258 Cleared, W/S, Bay Views $25,000 1/724, No Sewer, Bay Views

©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

44 Ocean Pines PROGRESS Cove assessments


August 2018

From Page 42 June was more than $100,000 ahead of budget for the current fiscal year, with Hearn indicating that monthly numbers in July and August were likely to push the bottom line into even more solid positive territory by year’s end. Authority to spend: At the board’s July 30 special meeting near Baltimore, the directors approved a motion that increases the spending authority of Cove association staff over the current $5,000 ceiling. Spending from $5,000 to $50,000 will require the approval of the Cove treasurer, with any amount above that requiring board approval, Hearn said. The policy change applies to previously budgeted items only. Curtis complaint: Also at the July 30 special meeting, the board discussed but made no final ruling on a complaint by John and Arline Curtis that the Cove association had failed to enforce its restrictions with respect to overgrown conditions on a neighboring lot in Section 4. Hearn said the board is still gathering information on the situation which led to the Curtises filing their complaint. But he said the couple seems to have been unaware that the Cove’s forced-mowing program only applies to about half the sections in Captain’s Cove, and Section 4 isn’t one of them. He also said the neighboring lot in question doesn’t really have any grass; it’s mostly weeds and shrubs, with most of the trees having been cut down years ago by a person or persons unknown. Hearn also said that for a number of years the Curtises themselves cleared the neighboring lot at issue with the permission of the property owner. “Now they seem to want us (the Cove association) to do it.” Hearn said. He said the complaint gives rise to the possibility that the board will want to consider expanding the forced-mowing program to more sections and, possibly, to add general lot upkeep to the rules. “My guess is that most property owners in Section 4 will oppose including their section in the program,” Hearn said. Sections not included in the program are heavily treed, Hearn said, and for the most part lack lawns that require mowing.

Building Captain’s Cove


WELSH Y D N I C SK FORTrial date


From Page 46 July 30th board meeting -- Th June 7 board meeting cancelled b cause of the Hearn arrest has bee rescheduled for July 30th, with very light agenda, Hearn has a nounced. It will be held in Towson, Md., the Sheraton Town Center, acro FEATURED HOMES from the mall, Hearn said. A prelim inary agenda has been posted on th 3BR/3BA ••3BR/2.5BA Cove Web site. NewConstruction Construction New Hearn said there was no conne 1733sq.sq.ft.ft. ••1733 • Tarpon Plus model tion between the decision to ho • Tarpon Plus Model Mako • Screen Porch a meeting at least two hours awa • Screen Porch • Golf Course lot from the Cove and his arrest. • Unfinished Bonus Room • Two-car garage “We’ve been considering rota 2179 Yardarm Dr. 258 Navigator ing meetings between the Cove an the Western Shore for some time $211,500 $219,500 Hearn said, because many Cov Raised Home on Pilings • 3BR/2BA • 3BR/2BA non-resident UNDER CONTRACT 44BR BR//3.5 3.5BA BA1940 1940Sq SqFtFt•• $266,800 $272,200 owners live closer Construction New Construction •New 1496 sq ft. the Washington, D.C., Baltimo •• 1663 Sq ft. Dophin 1663 Sq2012 ft. model and Philadelphia metro areas. Thresher Tiger Shark •• New 1-CarBulkhead Garage New Bulkhead He said he is aware that it will b •• Construction 10x12Floor screen porch Open Plan less convenient to the 40 or so re Starting Soon • Chincoteague idents who show up to meetings Bay Views the Cove. 38 Half Staff Ct. Rd. 1332 Blackbeard Since it will be held at a conve $176,700 $321,900 tion hotel with on broadband acces Raised Home Home on Pilings Raised Raised Pilings Raised Home Home on on Pilings Pilings BR // 22said BA 1349 1349it’s Sq Ft Ft •possible • $185,200 $181,500that th 33BR 33 BR BA Sq BR//22BA BA1745 1745Sq SqFtFt•• $246,500 $241,600Hearn meeting will be live streamed. Com Wahoo Sea Robin Dolphin 2012 Tarpon munications Director Justin Wil er always makes audio of meetin available, so at the very least th will occur at the July 30 meeting. “I’ll ask Justin about the possib ity of a live stream,” Hearn told th Ranch Style Home Ranch Style Home Ranch Style Home Two-Story Contemporary Home Progress. $169,200 33BR 3BR / 2BA 1496 Sq Ft • $177,900 3 BR / 2 BA 1288 Sq Ft • $142,300 $134,300 3 BR / 2 BA 1408 Sq Ft • $165,000 $173,600 FtFt •• $177,200 BR//2.5 2.5BA BA1607 1607Sq 186,100 He said the Sqlight meeting age da will include verification of th Skipjack Marlin Barracuda Tarpon II assessment levels for next year an some discussion of the 2018-19 bu get. Because he said the Cove is pe forming better than budget so f this year, and has completed its ca ital projects, there will be no need Ranch Two Two Two Story Story Contemporary Contemporary Home Home Two Story Story Contemporary Contemporary Home Home Two Two Story Story Contemporary Contemporary Home Home Ranch Style Style Home Home the $1200 assessments that 33 BR BR // 2.5 2.5 BA BA 1874 1874 Sq Sq Ft Ft •• $202,700 $212,100raise 44 BR BR // 2.5 2.5 BA BA 1818 1818 Sq Sq Ft Ft •• $209,400 $200,100 33 BR BR // 2.5 2.5 BA BA 2050 2050 Sq Sq Ft Ft •• $232,500 $222,700 BR // 2BA 2BA 1525 1525 Sq Sq FtFt •• $205,800 $196,500 33 BR been in place for several years. Health and safety fair: Th J&A Builders specializes specializes inin spec spec home homesales salesand andnew newhome homeconstruction. construction.AllAllofofour our models modelsninth are are“stick “stick built” built”and and feature feature afair w Cove’s annual health first a first floor floor master master suite suite with with standard standard appliance appliance package, package, andand Low-E Low-E windows. windows. TheseThese are aare fewa of few ourofmodels our models we can webuild can be held on Saturday, Aug. 4, fro on build your onlot. your Prices lot. Prices DO NOT DOinclude NOT include the costthe of cost the lot. of clearing Homes are a lot of OR similar the design lot. Homes and may are ofhave similar upgrades. designPrices and may goodhave for 8:30 a.m. until noon, at the Marin Captain’s upgrades.Cove, PricesGreenbackville, good for Captain’s Va. Only. Cove,MHBR Greenbackville, #4790 Va. Only. MHBR #4790 PRICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE by th Club. The fair is sponsored Captain’s Cove Community Eme gency Response Team (CERT). Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Pen Fed Realty Free health screenings provide Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty by Atlantic General Hospital w 4323Captain’s Captain’sCorridor Corridor • PO Box 28 4323 include cholesterol, LDL, HDL, tr Greenbackville, Greenbackville,VA. VA.23356 23356 glycerides and blood glucose leve 302-381-6910 (cell) •• 757-854-1604 (office) 302-381-6910 (cell) 757-854-1604 (office) which requires a 12-hour fast. Ri 757-854-1606 (fax) • Email: erside Shore Memorial Hospital w 757-854-1606 (fax) • Email: have a nurse checking blood pre ©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway ® sure. HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity. Riverside Home Health, Hospi & Senior Perspectives and Riversid

! e m i T a t a e m One Ho



August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS


COMMENTARY Tips for a less dysfunctional Board of Directors


ith the election of a new board, especially in a year when there’s as much turn-over as this one, there is real opportunity for a renewed effort to move the Ocean Pines Association forward. We’re not much inclined to cheerleading and cheesy appeals for team-building or team work or whatever fashionable term is used to paper over real differences in opinion. The best way to move forward is to recognize and manage differences, something that the two prior boards did not do particularly well. Out of the frothy exchange of competing notions the best idea, or at least the idea with a majority of votes, prevails. Directors don’t need to like one another to get things done. Whoever emerges as OPA president this coming year needs to avoid the mistakes of the last one. Doug Parks had his good points, but too often he appointed his close allies on the board to roles that could and should have been more equally distributed. In the waning days of his term, he allowed his better judgment to be subsumed in a pointless scuffle with Slobodan Trendic over process and an ill-conceived desire to turn Trendic into something he’s not and will never be. Parks called Trendic something he should not have, but at

Cover story From Page 1 crease assessments next year. He also made it known that he thought the decision on management software for the OPA and questions about out-sourcing certain functions should be deferred to the new board. Both were. In a brief conversation at the OPA’s annual meeting Aug. 11, Daly said he is “ready to look at anything” regarding outsourcing, including financial services or maintenance of ditches throughout Ocean Pines. He said he would be particularly receptive to outsourcing proposals that can be shown to save the OPA money. Moroney was the lone candidate of the four successful ones who declined to go on record suggesting that a decrease in the lot assessment next year is possible. With the election results certified at the annual meeting of the OPA held Aug. 10, speculation now shifts to the election of officers for the 2018-19 board term, particularly the OPA president. The 2018-19 president, Doug

least had the grace or at minimum the tactical good sense to apologize and move on. Cheryl Jacobs and Ted Moroney seemed to play “point person” roles on topics ranging from Mediacom contracts to bulkheads to the Country Club. How they came to be appointed by Parks if indeed they were or just seemed to gravitate to certain areas of interest perhaps will never be known. It just seems that because they weren’t necessarily on the same wavelength with Parks on a range of issues, Slobodan Trendic and Tom Herrick were never given lead positions to deal with major issues confronting the board this past year. Parks also has committed some process mistakes of late that are concerning. He authorized the general manager to issue a request for proposals for Country Club renovations in clear violation of the letter and spirit of a board motion in April specifying that the board needed to review and approve the RFP before it could be issued. Colette Horn, who should know better as the board parliamentarian, offered a lame defense for this process error, suggesting that four directors in an on-site work session could overrule a motion from an official board meeting. She also alleged the inconceivable: that Trendic himself was one of the four directors who by consensus

Parks, is interested in serving as president for another year, Daly told the Progress. Daly said carry-over directors Moroney and Colette Horn would seem to be likely supporters of Parks, meaning that he would need one more director to secure his re-election. Daly didn’t commit to voting for Parks, but seemed to suggest he could be persuaded, with assurances that Parks would avoid the sort of avoidable controversies over process and transparency that he said roiled the board this past year, especially those that pitted Parks against Slobodan Trendic. “It’s not rule by one person,” Daly said. Trendic told the Progress he is not lobbying for the position but would accept it. If nominated, Trendic would have the support of Diller, who said she believes he would make an “excellent, inclusive” president who would work to make sure that the OPA employs “best business practices” in the conduct of its affairs. She said Trendic would make sure that board processes are ful-

over-turned the April motion. Moreover, it’s come to light that neither Herrick nor Trendic seems to have been aware that OPA General Manager John Bailey in December signed a contract with Mediacom that will establish a direct, fiber optic line between the Ocean Pines Police Department to the county’s emergency dispatch center in Snow Hill. Apparently Cheryl Jacobs, the Parks-appointed Mediacom point person, was well aware of this. Neither Parks nor Jacobs nor, for that matter, Bailey chose to share this information with Trendic and Herrick. Perhaps certain other directors were informed, on the sly. The reported belated apology seems hollow. Whoever assumes the presidency later this month needs to keep in mind that keeping secrets is not the pathway to a successful year. It’s not the way a well functioning board operates. Whoever takes the reins in the board’s organizing meeting needs to find a way to improve communication within the board, making sure that nothing is hidden or kept from directors just because they might raise concerns about it. The ends don’t justify the means. If Parks won’t pledge to do better, the new board should look elsewhere for leadership at the top. - Tom Stauss

ly compliant with OPA bylaws and that no decisions are made or implemented without the participation of all seven directors. For Trendic to upend Parks, he would need the votes of both Tuttle and Daly, with Moroney and Horn already solidly in Parks’s corner. Both Tuttle and Daly worked well with Trendic on committees on which they served as chairman and he served as board liaison. Trendic backed the agendas of both committees at the board level. There could be some residual loyalties from those experiences. In the case of Tuttle and the Elections Committee, Trendic endorsed the committee’s and Tuttle’s preference for announcing election results on the day of the vote count, the Friday before the annual meeting. That policy preference was adopted by the board earlier this year in a close vote. Fears that it would result in sparse attendance at the OPA’s annual meeting, when election results traditionally were announced, turned out to overblown. There was a quorum at the meeting, albeit requiring a round-up of

property owners at the nearby farmers’ market. In the case of Daly and the Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Trendic backed the committee’s push for a community survey, long delayed but already on-line and hard copies scheduled to be mailed out later this month. He also agreed with Daly and the committee on the need to refocus its energies in developing a strategic plan for Ocean Pines. He agreed with the committee and pushed for a name change to reflect its revised purpose. The committee had been known as the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. Whether Trendic’s effective working relationships with two committee chairmen who were elected to the board will translate into votes for president will be settled soon enough. He would have to accept a nomination. If past years are prologue, it would not be surprising if before the organizational meeting, individual directors talk among themselves and arrive at a consensus on officer positions.



Ocean Pines PROGRESS August 2018

The education (or re-education) of John Bailey


t’s been almost a year that John Bailey has been in Ocean Pines as the Ocean Pines Associations’ general manager. It’s been a rocky learning curve, with some indications that he’s had some difficulty in syncing his preferences and modus operandi with the OPA membership. There was that $60 increase in the lot assessment that he proposed early in January that suggested that he might have been out of touch with the community. There was one stinging rebuke by OPA President Doug Parks when Bailey delivered a costly recommendation in the 11th hour for a Beach Club sprinkler system that Parks, and others, felt should have been provided much earlier. The project was rebid and the OPA saved a bundle in the process. More recently, he’s been promoting a renovation of the Country Club second floor in which latest cost estimates are more than double what the project could have been done for last summer. It’s not necessarily entirely his fault, but it happened on his watch, and that means he can’t escape responsibility for it. He’s abandoned the concept plan more or less endorsed by a previous board for renovating the Administration Building to provide more space for the police department. That concept called for reducing the area used by administrative departments in the existing building footprint. Instead, he is proposing extending the building out by 40 feet. The cost needless to say is greater if the expansion is implemented as opposed to keeping the existing footprint, knocking down walls and moving departments around. He’s come up with a seemingly inflated cost estimate for future road replacement -- $400,000 per mile -that he uses to argue for more funding for the roads reserve. One OPA director, Slobodan Trendic, says he believes the cost per mile is roughly 25 percent of Bailey’s estimate, or $100 per mile. The difference isn’t chump change, as over the next 40 years Ocean Pines’ 80 miles of roads will probably need resurfacing to one degree or another. To what extent is anyone’s guess. At $400,000 per mile, the OPA would need more than $32 million

career coasting to retirement in 15 years. An excursion through the curious cul-de-sacs A noteworthy positive sign is An excursion through theby-ways curious and by-ways and cul-de-sacs of Worcester County’s County’s most densely community. Bailey’s encouraging inclination to of Worcester mostpopulated densely populated community. support a bulkhead “waterfront difBy TOM STAUSS/ By TOM Publisher STAUSS/Publisher ferential” holiday next year for ownto replace its roads. At $100,000 per On the issue of geese removal, ers of most bulkheaded property in mile, the cost would be $8 million, Bailey has announced a non-lethal Ocean Pines. In a recent meeting of the Buda sum less than what the OPA over program of using collies as a way get and Finance Advisory Committime should be realizing from local to deter geese from gaining a new tee, Bailey said the flush condition casino impact funds at the current foothold in Ocean Pines in numbers of the bulkhead reserve could argue annual rate of funding, roughly that become unsustainable. for that holiday, or perhaps a multi$350,000 per year. That’s a step in the right direcyear partial holiday. Then there was the decision, tion, though by no means sufficient. To consolidate the advantage that much reviled in certain precincts in It has to be sustained and it has to might accrue to him if he adopts a Ocean Pines, to remove about 250 work. If it doesn’t, it needs to be supdifferential holiday as a policy recgeese from the South and North plemented with other methods tried ommendation, Bailey needs to be Gate ponds, with no notice to the in other communities with similar less tentative in his embrace of it. board of directors or Ocean Pines problems with geese. Be for it, for all the right reasons. before it was done. On the bulkhead staging area isHe should let property owners Some of the complaints directed sue, he has recommended that Hiknow he appreciates the unfairness at Bailey for the lack of disclosure Tide vacate the Swim and Racquet of a reserve fund that has collected beforehand, as well as for the forced Club site immediately, perhaps to almost four times what is reasonremoval and killing of geese, were West Ocean City. ably needed and can be spent in pointed and personal. Residents spoke and Bailey Ocean Pines for bulkhead replaceAnd, finally, the bulkhead re- heard. ment in any given year. placement staging area removed The downside of that proposChannel some populist rhetoric to from the Swim and Racquet Club al is that apparently transporting justify the holiday. campus two years after an outcry equipment and materials from West In the age of Trump, a little bomfrom the neighborhood reappeared Ocean City on a daily basis would bast might go a long way. not long ago. cost the OPA $25,000 more for bulkBob Thompson was divested of Bailey and the board got an ear- head replacement under way in his office in the Admin building two ful on that one at the July 27 board Wood Duck Isle. years ago for a record in some ways meeting. Suffice it to say that the He ran the $25,000 up the proless fraught than Bailey’s so far. reappearance was not supposed to verbial flagpole at the July 27 board The situation is salvageable, but happen. meeting. No one saluted. Bailey needs to exhibit more eviIf Bailey had accumulated such a In a year where there’s $1 mildence that he’s in sync with the folks record after, say, six years on the job lion budgeted for bulkhead replacewho pay his salary and benefits. in Ocean Pines, the pressure for his ment, that $25,000 cost would soar ouster would be palpable. to $150,000, a 15 percent premium Because he’s still a relative new- over what the OPA might otherwise bie at less than a year on the job, be paying. the impulse among many so far has Directors are resisting, hoping to been to cut him some slack and al- find a replacement site somewhere The Ocean Pines Progress, a journal of low him more time to grow into the in Ocean Pines, perhaps on a barge news and commentary, is published position. or barges just off the county’s wastemonthly throughout the year. It is cirThat could change. With new di- water treatment plant north of culated in Ocean Pines, Berlin, Ocean rectors coming on board this month Route 90. City, and Captain’s Cove, Va. who were not involved with hiring Bailey should have thought of him, it’s anyone’s guess how Bailey’s that one himself. 127 Nottingham Lane record so far will be assessed by the Still, the fact that Bailey was Ocean Pines, MD 21811 new board. quick to realize the political perils He’s coming up to the anniversa- of retaining Swim and Racquet as PUBLISHER/EDITOR ry date of his arrival in Ocean Pines, a staging area suggests that he is Tom Stauss with an automatic $10,000 bonus learning valuable lessons. due him if he is re-upped. So was his quick response to a 443-359-7527 He would be well advised not to property owner’s suggestion that accept the money, or to donate it he check out the use of dog patrols Advertising Sales back to some worthy cause in Ocean as a way of controlling Ocean Pines’ Frank Bottone Pines as an alternative. geese population. 410-430-3660 On a somewhat positive note, What he really needs to undersome of Bailey’s recent maneuvers stand is that solutions that resort CONTRIBUTING WRITER suggest that he is learning from to sharply higher spending levels Rota Knott some of the process missteps of re- over what might otherwise occur is cent vintage. not the way to ensure a comfortable 443-880-1348


August 2018 Ocean Pines PROGRESS

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August 2018 Ocean Pines Progress  
August 2018 Ocean Pines Progress