By Josh Davis, Associate Editor
(Aug. 16, 2018) Ocean Pines election results unveiled last Friday showed Steve Tuttle and Frank Daly had each earned three-year terms on the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors. Also elected were Ted Moroney and Esther Diller, each to one-year terms.
Tuttle was the leading vote-getter, with 2,322, and Daly finished second with 2,048 votes.
Moroney, the lone incumbent in the election this year, finished third with 1,809 votes and Diller finished fourth with 1,549. Both earned one-year terms, because of the resignations of Pat Supik this year and Brett Hill last year.
Paula Gray narrowly missed election, finishing fifth with 1,526 votes, followed by Arie Klapholz, 833, and Gregory Turner, 771.
Tuttle, the only candidate present during the vote count, said he was pleased with the results.
“I feel it’s a great challenge that I’m facing. It’s got a steep learning curve, but I’m committed to putting the time and the effort in [required for] serving on the board,” he said.
Tuttle said he spent much of the campaign knocking on doors in neighborhoods including Teal Bay and the Whitetail Sanctuary. He attributed the victory to “just talking to people,” an approach he said would continue as a board member.
“Absolutely. I really want to hear what people’s concerns are,” he said. “I’m committed to trying to respond to emails, when people contact me, or phone calls.”
He said the number-one topic on most people’s minds was the recent culling of about 300 resident Canada geese. His position, he said, was “the board did the right thing.”
“They were between a rock and a hard place [and] I don’t think they had any choice,” he said.
Assessments were the second most-popular topic, Tuttle added.
“It would be great if we never had to raise assessments, but things cost money,” he said.
Daly said he was gratified by the outcome. He finished fourth when he ran in 2016 and garnered 1,028 votes during a year when the top-three finishers were elected.
“I’m actually kind of humbled that I got over 2,000 votes,” he said. “And I’m looking forward to doing the things we said we were going to do, the way we were going to do them together. Let’s just enjoy the journey.
“I said all along the top priority was to have this organization managed better,” Daly continued. “It’s a great place to live, but it’s like my second house in Arizona – any time you reach under a rock, you’re in mortal danger, and any time you turn it over you find something you don’t want to find.”
Moroney said the election returns were about what he expected.
“It is what it is. I’m interested that only a small portion of Ocean Pines voters voted and I think some of it has to do with what was a less-controversial election this year,” he said. “There were four seats open and three were going to be filled by new candidates no matter what. So, it was a little bit of a vanilla election.”
His top priorities are finishing country club renovations, capping the long in progress reserve study, addressing financial accounting software concerns and approving a balanced budget.
Moroney added it is possible to pass a fiscal 2019/2020 budget without increasing assessments.
“Yes – depending on if I can find three other votes,” he said. “I think it’s possible.”
Diller said she is “looking forward to working with the board and making some very well-needed changes and improvements for our community.”
“I think we have a good group of people that are on there and I think we can get a lot done,” she said.
She said her priority was leaning more heavily on outsourcing.
“Outsourcing has worked so well with Matt Ortt with the yacht club. We’ve had tremendous success with that,” she said. “It just goes to show how good outsourcing can work.
“People are afraid of it and there’s no reason to be afraid of it, and I think Matt Ortt has done a great job in showing that to everybody,” Diller continued. “I’d like to work some outsourcing in for backroom and accounting and finance. It doesn’t mean getting rid of people – it means utilizing the same people we have underneath a professional management group who knows how to manage HOAs.”
The Ocean Pines Elections Committee oversaw the vote count, held in the East Room of the community center. Committee Chairman Steve Habeger announced the totals Friday morning and validated them on Saturday during Ocean Pines’ annual membership meeting.
Habeger on Friday said roughly 7,600 ballots were mailed to Ocean Pines homeowners, and 3,105 total ballots were counted. Four were rejected because they had more than the allowed number of candidates marked.
“Last year, 41 people voted for more than the allowed [number], so I think our efforts to be clear were successful,” Habeger said.
This story was updated from an earlier version.