By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Jan. 10, 2018) A 6-1 vote by the Ocean Pines Board on Saturday to rescind a directive came with several notes of caution and a fiery dig at General Manager John Bailey.
A previous board, on Jan. 27 last year, approved a motion to “instruct the General Manager to issue an RFP [request for proposals] for auditing services no later than September 1, 2018 to audit the Association’s financials for the fiscal year ending April 30, 2019.”
That action was apparently never done.
Several directors on Saturday said they were in principle against rescinding the actions of previous administrations, but in this case it was necessary, at least for administrative cleanup.
Director Slobodan Trendic cast the only vote not to rescind the prior motion and argued it “should still be honored by the board.”
Trendic introduced the Jan. 27, 2018 motion, which was later amended by Director Ted Moroney and unanimously approved by that board of directors.
In arguing to honor that directive, he said SC&H Group Inc. from Ellicott City, the auditing firm currently under contract with Ocean Pines, had entered a bid that was 50 percent higher than proposals from two local firms.
Trendic said the current auditor also had “certain relationships [that] were not disclosed and made aware of to the board.”
Former Director Pat Supik, in 2017, said the firm had a prior working relationship with Brett Hill, who at the time of the selection was both a board member and the acting general manager.
“I felt it was my duty as a director to revisit the whole process and to make sure that we get the best, most competitive, financial offer for auditing services,” Trendic said. “The intent of my motion, that was unanimously approved by the board, was really to correct what happened earlier – and that still stands.”
Trendic said Treasurer John Viola had argued, “This is not a good time to change the auditing firm.”
“Well, the auditing firm has been with us for two years,” Trendic said. “Furthermore, that particular argument assumes that they will lose in this new procurement process. It is up to that auditing firm to submit a competitive proposal. If they are as competitive as others, they might be selected again.”
He added, for the sake of newer board members, the history of everything that previously occurred should be kept in mind.
“I think it’s the wrong thing to do and it will set precedents that … question the judgment of previous boards if we start rescinding motions that, at the time, made all the sense [in the world],” Trendic said. “In the case of this motion, it still does.”
Association Vice President Steve Tuttle said he was “not in favor of rescinding motions as a normal practice,” but this was a unique circumstance.
Tuttle said the Sept. 1 date to issue the request for proposals had already passed, the association was now in the middle of a forensic audit, and changing auditors before the end of the current fiscal year “doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
“I think that we definitely should put an RFP together after the close of the fiscal year to get competitive prices for an auditor for the coming year after this one,” Tuttle said.
Several other directors agreed this was a unique case. None, however, were more direct in their displeasure than Esther Diller, who pointedly jabbed at Bailey for apparently not seeking bids despite having been directed to do so.
“J.B., we’re not your babysitters. You’re a grown man who knows his job. So, when an RFP is given, get it done,” Diller said.
“It’s not our job to babysit you and I don’t want to babysit you, so … I understand about taking responsibility as a board, but I don’t think you really want seven people up your butt every single day to get your job done. So, my feeling is, do your job,” she continued.
“Do your job, we’ll do ours. RFPs are issued – do them. That’s it,” Diller said.
Bailey did not respond to requests for comment.