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OPA board vote deadlocked on committee term extentions

3/27/14 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

OCEAN PINES— A deadlocked vote by the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors during the March 19 regular meeting failed to allow for extensions for three expiring members of the Communications Advisory Committee. The board did approve a motion to allow its legal counsel to pursue a turn over agreement relating to The Point development, in Ocean Pines Section 17.

A motion to the extend terms for three  members of the Communications Advisory Committee was read by OPA Vice President Sharyn O’Hare on behalf of Director Marty Clarke, who was absent to attend a funeral. The motion failed to win a majority vote.

In his motion, Clarke, the board’s liaison to the committee, wrote that due to a misprint in the description of the remaining terms of three committee members, Don Clagett, Don LaFond and Margaret Long, their term limits were approaching unexpectedly. He said their removal from the committee would leave it with an inadequate level of members and he requested a six-month extension for Clagett, an eight-month extension for LaFond and a 10-month extension for Long.

Director Terri Mohr took issue with the proposal, pointing out that a similar proposal she had made a few years earlier had been denied for lack of precedent.

OPA President Tom Terry expressed concern that approval of Clarke’s motion would also set a precedent and said a key point to consider would be how many members would remain on the committee if the terms were not extended.

Upon request, legal counsel Joseph Moore, a partner with the Ocean City law firm Williams, Moore, Shockley and Harrison, advised the board that he did not recall an expired committee membership being extended before, but interpreted Resolution C-01, which sets policy regarding advisory committees, as giving the board of directors the authority to make the extensions. He also cited Article 10 of the OPA By-Laws as authorizing the board to establish term lengths.

The vote on the motion resulted in a tie, with Directors Jack Collins, Bill Cordell and O’Hare voting “yea,” and Directors Jeffrey Knepper, Mohr and Terry voting “nay.” With the tie vote, the motion did not carry. Mohr requested that Executive Assistant Michelle Bennett inform the departing committee members of the dates they would be eligible to rejoin the committee once their respective non-membership requirement periods had been met. She also pointed out that the lack of membership status did not bar the individuals from continuing to attend committee’s meetings in a nonvoting capacity.

After a presentation and discussion, the board authorized Moore to proceed with a long-standing effort to secure a turn over agreement that would give the OPA access rights to roads and open spaces in the community’s Section 17, which includes The Point, a 139-acre planned unit development near the Isle of Wight Bay.

The agreement would give the OPA rights to access and maintain open spaces and roads in The Point, a move that is supported by the residents, according to Cathy Brennan, president of The Point’s homeowner’s association. She said it had come as a surprise to the residents that a turn over agreement was not already in place and implored the OPA to move forward.

The agreement would include the clubhouse at The Point, Moore noted.

The board approved the following appointment nominations to advisory committees: Virginia Reister, for a third term on the Aquatics Advisory Committee; Dennis Hudson, for a first term on the Comprehensive Planning Advisory Committee; and Elaine Brady, for a first term on the Communications Advisory Committee.       

The board approved a motion to revise Resolution M-09, which governs the candidate search process for board elections.

According to a draft of the proposal the resolution establishes the formation, roles and responsibilities of the OPA’s Search Committee and the procedures to be followed during candidate searches. It also authorizes the candidate application process as described in Section 5.02 of the By-Laws, which requires the committee to be appointed and approved by February first each year.

The board approved O’Hare’s nomination of Director Jeff Knepper to fill the position of board parliamentarian. The position was vacated by former Director Dan Stachurski, Knepper replaced in January after a special board election after Stachurski resigned. 

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