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YEAR IN REVIEW — OP ELECTION

12/24/13 | By Sheila R. Cherry, Associate Editor

OCEAN PINES—Six candidates ran for election to fill three vacant positions on the Ocean Pines Association seven-member Board of Directors and at the end of the process one incumbent and two newcomers were elected to fill the three-year terms.

The candidates included incumbents President Thomas Terry and Vice President Ray Unger, former director Edgar “Les” Purcell, and three newcomers, retired commercial banker Jack Collins, retired Baltimore County Police detective lieutenant William Cordwell, and retired letter carrier for the United States Postal Service and former management consultant Ronald David Langevin.

In June, the candidates were given an opportunity to state their positions on a number of topics during a community forum. Cordwell declared the OPA budget as “lean,” after having the opportunity to review the budget development process as a member of the Budget and Finance Committee. He stressed the need for adopting a “common sense” approach moving forward to address community problems, stating the community was finally making progress after years of neglect.

Noting his undergraduate degree in marketing and transportation from the University of Maryland and career experience, Langevin cited overspending by the board of directors and management failures as part his platform. He said OPA General Manager Bob Thompson had lost the community’s trust by making overly optimistic and contradictory proposal projections. In his campaign literature Langevin stated, “I will call for a Board vote to remove him from office.”

Thompson’s management style and policies became such a focal point for so many of the discussions and debates for his detractors and supporters during the campaign it almost seemed that he was on the ballot at times.

At one point during the process, criticism of Thompson became so intense it caused Unger

to make a point of publicly commending Thompson for “the kind of forward thinking that is very important” and crediting him for putting together a referendum for the Yacht Club renovation project  that Unger said had been done well enough to be approved by the membership on a 2-to-1 vote.

Purcell also commented on Thompson’s management style. He said, despite “certain people beating Thompson up” he thought the former board director had been doing a pretty good job as general manager, adding the caveat “He’s not perfect.” Purcell had apparently modified his earlier skepticism, of Thompson’s idea of bringing in golf course management company Billy Casper Golf, which uated the course and pinpointed the cause of drainage problems on the greens. As a result of Casper’s analysis and resolution of the problem, Purcell said he was willing to give Thompson’s plan a little more time to allow the company to turn the beleaguered golf club’s finances around.

Members of the age restricted community Parke at Ocean Pines Community Association, Inc., spent the afternoon of July 1 vetting the candidates as well. During that discussion, Collins advocated for operating amenities like the Yacht Club more like money-making businesses than dues-supported clubs, as a way to reverse some of the downward financial spirals the venues had been experiencing in recent years. He also suggested using the community’s own intellectual capital, represented by several retired corporate executives who could volunteer their services, rather than paying expensive consultants.

Terry said the OPA needed to be truthful about the futurue a given amenity represented to the community, stressing the need for transparency. “There are times you have to look at the community and decide whether to continue an [money losing] amenity,” he said.

When the debate and discussions concluded, the candidates were announced at the annual community meeting on Aug. 10. Election Committee Chairwoman Judy Butler reported that Collins and Cordwell had won first-time seats on the board, and Terry had won his bid for reelection.

 

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