By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 2, 2019) The Ocean Pines Association can still hold a board of directors election this year, despite the absence of a Search Committee or two more candidates than there are open seats on the board.
Apparent lack of interest in serving on the committee and the resignation of the entire committee after last year’s election has left the candidate-hunting body with one member. The Ocean Pines website continues to list the 2018 list of committee members.
According to Ocean Pines bylaws, the role of the committee is to “stimulate community interest in the forthcoming board election, solicit candidates from a broad spectrum of Ocean Pines membership, provide information to, or otherwise assist potential candidates with the application process. The Search Committee shall verify that all applications received are sent to the association secretary for validation of eligibility.”
Search Committee members offer advice and screen or recruit potential candidates.
However, nearly the entire search committee resigned following last year’s election, when 12 candidates filed to run for three board vacancies.
“There was one person that was on the committee who carried over from last year, but there was no one who stepped up to join the committee this year, despite the announcements and pleas that were made by (board of directors President) Doug Parks,” board Vice President Steve Tuttle said.
The bylaws require the board to appoint at least five members before February, but this year, only two people were appointed and one has since resigned.
Getting people to volunteer and join the Search Committee has proved to be trying, Parks said.
“We have had announcements at the last two board meetings (March and April) and sent an email blast to the community soliciting folks to join the Search committee,” Parks said. “Unfortunately, no one has yet stepped up. We have one member on the committee from last year who agreed to remain, but as of now we do not have a full complement of committee members.”
Despite this, elections can still take place, as residents can file for a spot on the board without the Search Committee.
“People can run for the board without even notifying the Search Committee,” Tuttle said. “They can file their paperwork to run for the board, and as long as they get in by May 10, they’ll be certified as a candidate.”
Three seats are available this year. According to the bylaws, the board election requires two more candidates than openings. If not enough residents file for election by the deadline, the board is allowed solicit candidates to meet the requisite candidate total. The additional candidates’ applications then must be submitted to the secretary before the ballots are submitted for printing.
As of Tuesday afternoon, one person — Larry Perrone — has filed for the board and one more has plans to file this week. This leaves one seat open and not enough challengers to make it a contest. If no one else files by the May 10 deadline, an election might not take place.
“If there were no more candidates that filed, those two would be automatically elected,” Tuttle said.
The bylaws state “if, for any reason, the number of eligible candidates available for election to the board of directors becomes less than the number of positions to be filled by the election, then the number of positions to be filled by the election shall be reduced to the number of candidates remaining.”
In the event that a vacancy does occur, a majority from the board would be able to appoint a replacement director to serve until the election.
Attempts to contact Director Esther Diller, who is up for reelection this year and who has yet to announce her intentions, were not successful.