By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(June 28, 2018) Frank Daly ran for the Ocean Pines Association Board two years ago, finishing fourth in a crowded field that elected three new directors.
After narrowly missing election, he’s running again this year for one reason.
“[Two years ago] I said if Ocean Pines was well managed, then I would be quite content with staying with my committee work,” he said. Daly is the chairman of the comprehensive planning committee.
“Let’s look at what happened over those two years: we fired a general manager, we brought in an acting general manager from the board, between the board and the general manager they crafted a plan that led to record operating losses. We are, since that time, on our fourth director of finance, and that’s just on the operational side,” Daly said.
Not to mention, “Two members that were sitting on the current board majority have made public allegations of fraud and corruption,” and multiple reports of theft, he added.
“We’re in the beginning stages of a $250,000 forensic audit. In addition, the board commissioned its deep-dive audit which said … we have weak and ineffective business processes that are poorly managed throughout the organization,” he said. “They basically failed my test if they were well managed!”
The Pennsylvania native, now 69, holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and has a master’s degree in finance and marketing. He has worked in aerospace as a senior-level engineer for a company associated with Northrop Grumman, and later moved into sales and marketing.
For about the last decade, Daly has run his own business, Jordan Frank & Associates, recruiting high-level positions in the engineering, construction, architecture and renewable energy industries.
The good news in Ocean Pines, he said, is “not everything is bad.”
“I believe that we have a well-credentialed and well-experienced general manager in place that has run large communities,” Daly said. “John’s [Bailey] situation is akin the situation you’d be in if you were a Coast Guard rescue swimmer and I told you, ‘I’m sending you out to rescue somebody and they’re in rough water, and it’s dark,’ and I dropped you in the middle of a tsunami. John has been swimming for his life.”
Daly especially praised the aquatics amenity. He recalled moving to Ocean Pines and bringing his wife to one of the pools on Memorial Day.
“We didn’t have Colby [Phillips] as the aquatics director and it seemed like Memorial Day caught everybody by surprise – they didn’t expect crowds. It’s just Memorial Day,” he said. “Since then, aquatics have changed dramatically … that’s a good thing.”
He also pointed to new management of the yacht club as a positive.
“How many other facilities in the world exist where you spend $5 million and they’ve renovated three times in five years?” he asked. “From a process standpoint, I really think we should’ve put an official RFP out and we should have put an RFP out for leasing, but I think getting the Ortt Group in here so far has been the right thing to do.”
That’s not to say there haven’t been bumps in the road during the Bailey era, Daly said.
“John and this new board have to get in sync with the community, and John has to do his job of using the input and developing a plan and budget based on a plan, and the board has to make sure that gets done,” he said. “As long as that’s done and the board doesn’t become complacent … the system works. Otherwise, you have what we had over the past two years, which is not good.”
Daly said the unprecedented turnover – the election will seat four of seven directors and only one candidate has prior experience on the Ocean Pine Board – present “both a challenge and an opportunity.”
“As we saw last week at the board meeting, our board has to learn to work together in a businesslike manner,” he said. “What that means is you have to be able to criticize without punching and you have to be able to accept criticism without crying. We’ve seen situations throughout the time that I’ve moved here where that hasn’t been the case.”
He said he was asked to run in a coalition of candidates – this year and two years ago. Both times he declined.
Instead, Daly said if elected he would prefer to do his job and be held accountable to the commitment he made, rather than be tied down to a coalition that could fracture if history were to repeat the actions and reactions of the last two years.
Still, he again said there was a bright side.
“If anything good has come out of the losses, the allegations, the thefts – we’ve got to focus on just managing this place better,” Daly said. “I think for the people that come that are part-timers – and even for the rest that live here full time – we come here and it looks nice. We go to the pools and everything is fine. But it’s when you start looking at how our money is spent and how things are done [that you start to see the problems]. And I think now at least we’re looking at that.
“Since I started looking at properties in Ocean Pines, the number-one thing that people identified was, ‘It’s a great place to live, it could just be better managed.’ I’m here for one reason: to make sure it’s better managed by this board,” he continued. “We’ve seen what bad management looks like. And we’ve seen enough.”