By Greg Ellison
(Nov. 7, 2019) The Ocean Pines Bylaws and Resolutions Committee last Friday moved closer to finalizing the definitions that would be used in the association’s election validation process.
The revised language could be incorporated with other proposed tweaks to association resolution M-06 that governs elections and referendums.
Committee chairman Jim Trummel said the matter of validation was raised by OPA President Doug Parks in an email before the group’s October meeting. Subsequent recommendations were vetted during the committee meeting last Friday.
Committee member Jeff Knepper worked to establish the wording after last months’ committee gathering.
“What we thought was needed was the definition of validate,” he said.
Also in attendance last Friday was Elections Committee Chairman Steve Habeger.
“I thought it was a belt and suspenders approach when they made a motion to validate,” he said.
Knepper said the proposed language clearly establishes the process of announcing results is the validation.
“There’s more than enough sunshine on this process that we don’t need a separate work effort to validate or accept results,” he said.
Resolution M-06 outlines two validation processes, with the deed accomplished at the homeowners annual meeting, assuming a quorum is present, or, in the absence of a quorum, require the board to hold a special meeting to validate the results.
Regardless of the path, Knepper said the goal is accomplished when the election committee chair, at this time Habeger, presents the results to board and association members.
“When he stands up and gives the results, that’s it,” he said.
Knepper also noted by that point in the election process a tremendous amount of effort has been expended to confirm accurate poll numbers.
“It’s not a matter that the association is taking a single member’s word,” he said. “That’s about as much sunshine as you’re ever going to get on that.”
Committee member Audrey Wahl said earlier discussions indicate there was no relevancy for the board to vote on accepting the final election results.
Knepper agreed with the assertion but also noted the board did take that step during the most recent election contest.
“The board this past year did actually vote on it,” he said.
said regardless of board sentiments, the mission is accomplished without their additional confirmation.
“Validation is just simply putting it in the minutes of the meeting,” he said.
Habeger concurred with the committee’s opinion, while suggesting another slight change to resolution M-06.
“At the current time, M-06 requires when we do a candidate forum that we seat the candidates in ballot order, and we call on them in ballot order,” he said.
In practice, Habeger said there have been two candidate forums, with a random questioning method used in one of the instances.
“It seems to be more satisfying to the candidates and to the audience,” he said.
Habeger said the intent would be to modify the resolution to permit the election committee to select the order of questions and responses.
“As long as it’s equitable and everybody gets a fair chance at the same questions,” he said.
Habeger suggested both language alterations could be undertaken simultaneously.
Trummel said the issues need to be reported to Parks and board members, with the committee agreeing to revisit the topics during its next meeting to finalize a response.