By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Jan. 10, 2018) A closed session of the Ocean Pines Board on Saturday included discussion of an employee complaint against a director, but the person in question, Slobodan Trendic, was found not to have violated any rules.
Before the meeting, there was some speculation as to exactly what the complaint was, while others wondered why Trendic was named in the published agenda released several days earlier.
According to a motion proposed by Director Colette Horn, the closed portion of the meeting would be held “to discuss matters pertaining to employees and personnel … specifically to discuss an employee complaint regarding actions by Director Trendic and specifically to discuss potential employee impact from proposed organizational restructuring.”
Several sources said Trendic had told a public works employee how to do his or her job – something generally not done by a board member – but that was not revealed publicly.
However, Trendic did address the matter during the public comments portion of the meeting.
“I wanted to make sure the community understands the situation and is aware,” Trendic said. “I’d like to minimize any speculations as much as possible.”
Trendic said he initially wanted the discussion to be held publicly during the open session, but reconsidered after realizing “the subject involves employees and personnel.”
“I think we, as a board, have a duty to have that kind of a conversation in closed session in order to protect the privacy of those involved – including myself, since I’ve been named as a party related to the matter,” he said.
Trendic went on to say his name was “improperly disclosed to the public” and worried doing so “might send the wrong message as far as future issues and concerns that might come forward to the board in order to be addressed.”
“I want to make sure that the employees or anybody that’s involved is not discouraged from speaking freely in the future, when certain situations demand that, in fear that the same will happen to them, like it’s happening to me now,” Trendic said.
“I want to go on record to say that I have no issue with the employee that has brought this forward,” he continued. “I understand why that might be the case, and I also want to make sure that in the future the employees are comfortable in reacting to a problem … that might cause them to feel uncomfortable themselves – whether that involves their fellow colleague, whether that involves their supervisor or general manager or one of the board members, it doesn’t matter.
“We should treat everybody equally and we should also respect the privacy of those individuals involved,” Trendic said.
He said it was the board’s job to review all the facts “and then take any actions necessary, including disciplinary actions, if those are warranted.”
“I’m looking forward to sitting down with my colleagues in closed session, reviewing all the issues, and then collectively the board will, I’m confident, come up with the right course of action – if any is required,” Trendic said.
Following the closed session, Association President Doug Parks emailed a statement regarding the closed session.
“In accordance with resolution of B-08, the matter was investigated by the board to include the HR department, the affected Board Director, the appropriate department head and the Board found no violations of B-08 or the by-laws. The matter is closed,” Parks said.
Trendic, reached for comment on Sunday, again said he was “ready and willing to have this issue reviewed in an open meeting.”
“However, in order to protect the privacy of others, it was best to handle the matter in a closed session,” he said.