By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 2, 2018) Ocean Pines Association Vice President Cheryl Jacobs attended her final regular board of directors meeting last Friday.
Jacobs, 70, is originally from Hagerstown, Maryland and spent 23 years in the telecommunication industry.
She is a graduate of the University of Baltimore and University of Baltimore School of Law and also spent several decades as a prosecutorial attorney.
Before retiring, she was an adjunct law professor at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown and was past president of the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland.
Jacobs was elected to a three-year term on the Ocean Pines Board in 2015 and in June was one of three candidates to be elected as a judge of the Worcester County Orphan’s Court.
“It has been quite a remarkable experience being a director on the board of Ocean Pines,” Jacobs said in an email interview Sunday. “For me, it was a great way to transition from full-time employment to retirement. Although, being a board member is like full-time employment, just without a paycheck.
“My time on the board has afforded me the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and learn so much more about the operations of this great community,” she continued. “Being on the ‘inside,’ so to speak, provides such a different perspective. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about how Ocean Pines really functions and has something to offer in terms of talent and time.”
However, Jacobs added, “Being on the board is not for the faint of heart and you cannot be thin-skinned.”
“It became apparent that it is impossible to please everyone and you have to be able to withstand the criticisms by certain media outlets, other directors and residents as you try to manage balancing the desires of the vocal minority against the remaining 8,400-plus other owners,” she said. “Rumors, misinformation, unfounded allegations and complaints unfortunately were par for the course.
“Despite all of that, I don’t regret stepping up for the challenge and am eternally grateful for the opportunity to serve and so appreciative of all of the members of the community who approach me as I’m out and about, as well as sending emails and phone calls, thanking me for being on the board,” Jacobs continued. “That’s one of the things that makes it worth all the effort, as well as knowing you are helping your community.”
Among her accomplishments, Jacobs said she was “Happy to have participated in the effort to introduce competition and more choices for residents in the technology/media arena,” an area where she was able to call upon her experience.
“Although the other two major players [believed to be Comcast and Verizon] ultimately did not find it viable to come to Ocean Pines, the renewal of the Mediacom contract will assure residents of continued services, as this vendor continues to make upgrades to their system,” she said. “Hopefully, opening up our right-of-ways will ultimately lead to other choices in the future. I’m also happy about other projects completed during my time on the board, but leave with some frustrations about other projects still not completed that could have been.”
Eighteen months ago, Jacobs joined a technology work group charged with identifying the needs and problems of each association department’s computer systems.
“Those needs were then measured against our existing systems to determine the gaps and ultimately to make a recommendation for moving the association forward from a technology perspective. An extremely talented group of volunteer residents on the TWG, with more combined experience than we would have wanted to pay for, worked very hard to examine the viable options in the marketplace,” she said. “What frustrates me the most is that people with little knowledge about all that … offer uninformed opinions that ultimately have stalled that progress.
“In Ocean Pines, we seem to have a penchant for ignoring decisions that are made and second-guessing everything, resulting in delay after delay. And, in some cases the delay amounts to starting all over again,” Jacobs continued. “That’s wasteful of people’s time and totally unproductive.
“The same can be said of the second floor of the Country Club, which should have been started and completed before the beginning of this year’s golf season. When finally completed, it will be a great addition to that amenity, as well as the community at large,” she said. “Our new GM, Mr. Bailey, has a number of ideas about how to use the facility to bring members together, much like what was done there in the past. So, as I depart, these are the two main projects that I would have hoped had been finished during my tenure.”
One of the “great joys” of this year, according to Jacobs, was serving on the association’s anniversary committee.
“I’m sorry I will miss the cocktail party planned for Aug. 11 after the annual meeting, as I will be out of state at that time. Although I leave as liaison, I remain a member of the committee and look forward to attending the gala this fall and working on the planning of the 50th anniversary closing event, a ‘sock hop’ throwback in time dance party on Dec.14 to be held in the gym, just like the ‘old days,’” she said.
Looking back, Jacobs said there were times of “peace and harmony” as well as other of “turmoil and stress.”
They included “three years of ups and downs through changes in administration, finance, legal and food and beverage, especially during my second year with an acting interim general manager, who was making decisions affecting the well-being of the community without board knowledge or approval,” Jacobs said.
“The addition of Ted Moroney as the replacement on the board, who I totally support for retention, factored into the times of smoother sailing in my last year and I leave with no regrets for all the hundreds of hours spent working to make Ocean Pines the best it can be, which is a great place to live,” she continued. “Now, I look forward to a few months break before starting my next challenge, where I can be of service to an even greater number of citizens of Worcester County as a Judge of the Orphans Court. I want to take this opportunity to again thank the citizens for their votes and for their confidence in me.”
Director Tom Herrick, also elected in 2015, opted not to run for reelection and declined to be interviewed.