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Bylaws nears end point of work group review

Pines advisory committee continues charting progress on updates to send board

By Greg Ellison

(Sept. 9, 2021) Ocean Pines Bylaws and Resolutions Committee members discussed work group proposed language revisions tied to voting qualifications, committee membership and director removal during its virtual meeting last Friday.

Committee Chairman Jim Trummel said revisions to bylaws section 3.01C are under consideration to correct language inconsistencies for membership voting rights.

“There are two locations in bylaws that use ‘eligibility to vote,’” he said.

Trummel said the remaining bylaws references to membership voting rights use the term “eligible to vote.”

One additional variation exists in section 4.07A that says, “members eligible to cast votes,’ which Trummel suggested could also be amended to “eligible to vote.”

The proposed language revisions for 3.01C would mandate payment of annual charges levied by the Board of Directors as a prerequisite for voting, which could be suspended if a member is in continual violation of Declaration of Restrictions.

The addition of section 3.01D is also proposed, which states members are restricted from voting if annual charges are not paid 35 days before any voting deadline.

Committee member Keith Kaiser suggested breaking out the revised wording for 3.01C to create 3.01E that would include the requirement members are not in violation of declaration of restrictions to be eligible for voting.

Trummel also raised the specter of permitting associate members of the association to be considered for committees.

Bylaws section 1.08 defines an associate member as a “person entitled to use the facilities and amenities,” but not permitted to vote.

Trummel said the suggestion was put forth during an Executive Council meeting.

“Several committee chairs thought this would be a good idea,” he said. “It could help in recruiting committee membership.”

Committee member Bob Hillegass noted the bylaws currently mandate that committee members are property owners eligible to vote.

“If you’re going to extend it that the same rule would have to apply,” he said.

Defining durations for associate members to join advisory committees was another issue noted by Trummel.

“They could be an associate member for the weekend or a much longer time,” he said.

Committee member Lora Pangratz asked if the suggestion would also extend to voting privileges.

“Does it also allow associate members to vote in elections?” she said. “Why would I want to volunteer to do committee work when I can’t vote on anything.”

Kaiser said there would likely be long–term renters in Ocean Pines who would be interested if committee membership is expanded.

“They could be productive members of the community,” he said.

Committee members agreed to forward the proposal to the bylaws work group in the midst of crafting language revisions for the Board to review.

Also discussed was a suggestion from an association member to revise section 5.12 for removal of a director.

Trummel said the concern is that the current threshold to remove a Board member is the majority of votes eligible to be cast, not those received.

“There are other differences between the current and past bylaws for removal provisions not relevant to the issue of voting thresholds,” he said.

At present, bylaws language allows directors to be removed by the majority of votes that could be cast in a referendum by eligible members.

“Current bylaws do not mention removal for cause but the petition has to state a basis for removal,” he said.

Trummel said prior to 2008 bylaws provisions provided for removal by cause if two thirds of those eligible to vote approved.

“I don’t see a basis for changing the current bylaw language,” he said.

Bylaws section 5.12B permits removal of a director by two-thirds vote of the board.

Pangratz suggested the proposal be forwarded to the bylaws work group for vetting.

Trummel said the committee is nearing completion of review items sent from the bylaws work group.

“We’re coming very close to the point where we have done everything that we think we can do,” he said.

Trummel said a complete package of review feedback would be compiled and sent to the work group by next month. The next Bylaws and Resolutions Committee virtual meeting is scheduled for Sept. 17 at 1 p.m.